While snow is not on the radar this weekend, holiday cheer will be in the air as Midtown celebrates with the 47th annual Noel Night.
The festival will be held on Dec. 7 in Midtown. Activities will kick off north of Warren Avenue from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., with the celebration wrapping up from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. south of Warren Avenue.
Annmarie Borucki, special projects manager for Midtown Detroit Inc. — the group who hosts Noel Night — said the event started as a way to display the Midtown neighborhood and what makes it special.
“It was a way to show the institutions — invite people to come down and experience the cultural center,” she said. “Over time, it was a way to give back to the community.”
Over 110 venues will be participating this year including businesses, restaurants, bars and breweries. Notable cultural institutions participating include the Detroit Institute of Arts, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Historical Museum, Detroit Public Library, Michigan Science Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
WSU will host 27 activities with several colleges and campus organizations participating throughout the night. Some of these activities include an instrument petting zoo put on by the department of music, a holiday market featuring more than 70 vendors in Woodward and Warren Park and a competition in the Welcome Center where sculptures will be built from canned food, which will be donated to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.
“Noel Night is a Cultural Center tradition and a great opportunity for Wayne State to invite tens of thousands of area residents, students, employees and alumni and visitors to engage with our campus in a fun and unique way,” Emily Thompson, WSU director of economic and community development, said.
With thousands attending the Detroit holiday tradition each year, Noel Night helps present Midtown’s cultural institutions to a larger audience, DIA Communications Coordinator Laura Vestrand said.
“Events like Noel Night allow local residents who may not be familiar with the DIA to visit the museum and experience one-of-a-kind access to history and cultures that can’t be found in books, TV or on the internet,” she said.
Music is a large part of Noel Night with performances from school groups and local artists that showcase the community’s talent, Borucki said.
“We hire a lot of Detroiters who perform, including professionals,” she said. “Noel Night has always been a platform for local artist groups to do something.”
Performing from WSU will be multiple Jazz Ensembles, the Women’s Chorale, Men’s Glee Club and the University Chamber Orchestra. The WSU Theater Department will also be performing the shows “Reckless,” and “A Christmas Carol.”
Borucki said Noel Night is significant in that it encourages a positive perception of Detroit among attendees.
“I think events like Noel Night are the types of events that really steal people's hearts and get them interested about Detroit,” she said.
Noel Night’s full schedule, participating venues and other details can be found at www.noelnight.org.
Jenna Prestininzi is a contributing writer for The South End, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo by Quintin Banks. He can be reached at Quintin.Banks@wayne.edu.