Detroit Mercy prepares for Titan Winter Blast

This year’s Detroit Mercy Winter Blast will take place Saturday, Feb. 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on McNichols Campus. The annual winter event is hosted by the University of Detroit Mercy and is a day-long event that features a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. The event features a chili cook-off, live music, horse-drawn trolley rides and other family-friendly activities.  

Arneshia Austin, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at Detroit Mercy said, “We need the camaraderie of the Winter Blast. 2024 brings so much joy and we are ready to see each other, and we are ready to get back.”   

The event is open to all, and the cost of admission is $20 for alumni, faculty, staff, and guests, and $10 for students. Children 10 and under are free. Admission includes tastings at the chili cook-off, open beer and wine bar, picnic buffet, all family-friendly activities and entertainment and you also get a ticket to the men’s basketball game.  

One of the most popular activities at the Winter Blast is the chili cook-off. The chili cook-off tends to be very competitive.  

Austin said, “For the chili cook- off we have eight great teams that are going to be awesome, so the chili cook-off is our winning ticket.”  

She mentioned that since she has been in the position, she has seen over 40 recipes, vegan, turkey, beef, different types of beans, and different types of seasonings. The guests are the judges. As they walk around and taste the chilis, they get to cast their vote. The School of Dentistry has won the past five years and is the reigning  champion.  

Austin said, “The dental school is serious about their chili. The competition is fierce, and the dental school is holding the title.” 

Live music will be performed by the Detroit Mercy Music Club. Another feature this year will be horse-drawn trolley rides through campus. For the kids there will be a hot cocoa bar and cookie decorating station. There will be other games and activities, including cornhole, snowman can toss, face painting and kids winter-themed crafts.  

The UDM theater group will also be handing out tickets for its events and even discounts for the show that evening. Austin added that there are some excellent sponsors for this year’s event, ncluding National Coney Island, which will be serving coney dogs and North Center Brewing Company, featuring craft beers at the open bar.  

Immediately following the Winter Blast, the UDM men’s basketball team will play a game against Purdue Fort Wayne at Calihan Hall.  

Peggy Pattison, Director of Alumni Relations, said, “We hold it before the men’s basketball game to combine the tailgate with the Winter Blast.”  

Admission to the basketball game is included with your ticket to the Winter Blast. 

Austin said about the basketball game, “There is a wonderful tailgate, but the real competition is the chili cook-off, but don’t tell the team I said that.”  

Weather will not be an issue for the event.  

Pattison said, “Regardless of the weather, the Winter Blast will continue as planned.” 

Pattison remembers that one year there was a winter storm.  

She said, “One winter we had the blizzard, but we still had a full fitness center.”  

She said that year everyone had to endure the weather to make a special effort to attend. Everyone seemed to get a little closer.  

She said, “We tend to see the same people at this event. It is a homecoming, watching older alumni welcoming in the new generations. It brings good joy and energy, and we want to see all Titans come out!”