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Noel Night in Detroit

The Midtown family tradition celebrates its 40th anniversary year on Dec. 1, 2012. Visit for free admission to museums, cultural fun, ice carving, live entertainment and more

Free cultural experiences, shimmering icy art and music in the frosty air are all on tap to mark four decades of Noel Night, a Midtown Detroit tradition.  This festive "open house" – featuring family craft activities, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice-carving challenges, dance, theater and tons more – happens from 5 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012.

In honor of its 40th birthday, this Noel Night is seeing its biggest number of participants: Over 75 area institutions are opening their doors to the public. Organizers say this includes a peek at the brand-spanking new Michigan Science Center – which is opening up at the former Detroit Science Center location!

Among an impressive 15 new smaller-business venues, you'll also find fun at the 71 Garfield Building. This cool renovated mixed-arts space, home to artists' lofts and studios, will have warm beverages at the all-new Socra Tea Detroit (the D's "only tea house") and chance to "throw down" on a pottery wheel and create an ornament at Sugar Hill Clay. Other newbies to explore include Great Lakes Roasting Company and Whole Foods.

Beyond shops, as always, you'll get free reign of tons of museums and cultural institutions. Explore the fun at favorite regulars like the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Historical Museum (which will be freshly reopened!), Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Public Library and much more. Theaters and dozens of other lures also join the mix.

As for entertainment? There's hardly a dull moment! Throughout the night, amid various venues, you'll find 120-plus performances by music, theater and dance groups. Planned music ranges from the instrumental prodigy sisters of The Ahn Trio to the "Celtic event" that is The Tartan Terrors – which mashes up song, dance, comedy and some hardcore bagpipes.

Families can marvel at the ice carving displays crafted by skilled chainsaw carvers, too. In another tradition, local Detroit college art students participate in the "Ice Scraper Challenge," learning the trade earlier in the day and showing off their fresh-honed chops that night.

And, at the end of the night, the entire festival community joins a carol sing-along on Woodward Avenue, led by the Salvation Army band – a beloved annual spectacle.

So don't miss out! Wander around and join the Noel Night celebration in Midtown Detroit's Cultural Center area – primarily between Cass, John R, Kirby and Willis streets.

Check out the Metro Parent listing for more on the 2012 40th anniversary Noel Night in Midtown, Detroit.

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