The fun factor will definitely be back for this year's Winter Blast, but there is also a very serious component to the festival that is new.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint pediatrician, spoke during the press conference detailing plans for this year's event, which runs Feb. 12-14 in Campus Martius Park. Dr. Mona, as she's called, helped to sound the alarm on the health risks and consequences from the lead contamination of Flint's water supply.
"Every child who drank or cooked with this water was potentially exposed and thus is at risk for consequences," said Hanna-Attisha, who works at Hurley Hospital and is also a professor at Michigan State University.
Dr. Mona spoke as plans were detailed for this year's Winter Blast, which will run February 12th to the 14th in Campus Martius Park.
There will be music from 46 bands during the festival, more food and plenty of fun with free skating and the return of the popular snow slide. A portion of the funds raised this year will go to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund.
Meridian Health Plan is the corporate sponsor of Winter Blast.
"It moves from a real feel good to this necessity," said Jon Cotton, president and CEO of Meridian Health Plan. "Everybody's got to pitch in."
According to Dr. Mona, too much time has already passed.
"This is our tomorrow fund," said Hanna-Attisha. "This is not for water and filters. That's largely being taken care of. This is our investment in children to support those interventions such as the early literacy programs and the educational services and the nutrition services," she said.
Winter Blast producer Jonathan Witz has established a goal to raise at least $75,000 for the fund.