(02/06/13) - It's the perfect combination of warm and cold - this Saturday, the Flint Downtown Development Authority is hosting a new winter extravaganza.
"There's never been anything done like this before. We're closing down the street and putting on a festival filled with fire and filled with ice," said Gerard Burnash, Flint DDA executive director.
The Fire'n'Ice Festival runs from 2-8 p.m. The feature attraction is a portable synthetic ice rink.
"We're going to put it right up on second street, between Saginaw and Harrison, with skates, free rental and free ice skating all day long," Burnash said.
In fact, there hasn't been a place to skate downtown since the old Water Street Pavilion rink at UM-Flint closed. That was more than 20 years ago.
"Every winter people wants to see that opened up. That's the ultimate goal. We'd love to see it open again. There's a lot of interest in that," Burnash said.
Getting back to the fire part of the festival - let's just say that things will be heating up.
"Every hour on the hour, we'll have fireworks and fireballs. We have entertainers that are fire eaters, fire breathers doing shows throughout the day, along with a chili cook-off going on," Burnash said.
Beyond a massive pile of snow, which will basically serve as pyrotechnic central, is the historic Capitol Theater, and on Saturday afternoon, visitors will have the chance to walk inside its newly renovated lobby for the very first time.
"The Capital Theater is hosting a cash bar, and they've been refurbishing it for a while now, and the lobby is looking great. We want people to come down and check it out and show some interest in the Capitol Theater so we can hopefully get some acts in there," Burnash said.
All of this is happening thanks to a grant from the CS Mott Foundation, part of a continued effort to make downtown Flint a destination, even during those cold winter months.
"We had a huge success with our New Year's Eve event with over 5,000 people here. The idea is that people can always count on coming downtown because something is always going on, and that's what's behind these festivals," Burnash said.
The Fire'n'Ice Festival runs from 2-8, Saturday, in downtown Flint.
Admission is free. For a schedule of events, click HERE.
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