Events, People

Happiness is a Warm Hug…for Detroit

It’s hard to wrap your brain around all of Detroit’s problems let alone your arms most days. But it certainly couldn’t hurt to give the city a collective hug.

And that is the basic principle behind the Inside Detroit project to set the Guinness World Record for the Largest Group hug in Detroit. It’s a three-pronged approach: The hug is a warm fuzzy for the city, it brings attention to the well-deserving non-profit group and it will bring people downtown to see Detroit at its best. And it wouldn’t hurt to get a little positive press for Detroiters showing some love for the city and each other.

Inside Detroit hopes to gather at least and hopefully more than 10,000 people during the hug fest, which will take place Feb. 12 in Campus Martius Park during the city’s annual WinterBlast celebration. The goal is to break a record set in 2009 in Transylvania for the most hugs at one time. Yes, that Transylvania…the one with the vampires.

Look, if we let those Transylvania punks beat us at this, then I’m moving to Canada. That’s right…I’m throwing down the gauntlet. This is a do-or-die project in my mind. Hug Detroit or get the Joe Louis fist thrown in your general direction! (By the way, Inside Detroit doesn’t authorize my violent tendencies…I’m just thinking this is a good idea and we all collectively should get behind it.)

Sample button

But I digress. The Record-breaking attempt is for city dwellers as well as Detroiters-at-heart, said organizer and Inside Detroit social media director Erika Fulk. And, no, you don’t have to bear hug a stranger to make it count – although you certainly could. People ideally will stand arm in arm in a circle to create the hug, which Guinness officials will then judge for its huggie-ness. Or something like that.

The event begins with a design competition. Through Monday, you can submit a design for the button promoting the hug attempt, and Inside Detroit will have it printed up for distribution throughout the Metro area.

Its premiere will take place during Noel Night, Detroit’s Cultural Center holiday “open house” on Dec. 4. Inside Detroit will sell the buttons for $1 each during the event as a fund raiser for the group.

Here are the qualifications: The button must be three inches in width. It must incorporate the slogan “I Hug Strangers in the D” and the Inside Detroit logo. Artists of all ages are welcome, Erika said. A panel of judges will decide to final winner sometime next week. But all of the design submissions will go on display at the Inside Detroit Welcome Center during the WinterBlast.

Some background: Inside Detroit’s mission is to promote Detroit “as a preferred destination to live, work and play by educating the public about Detroit’s history, culture, community and livability.” Its Welcome Center is located north of Campus Martius at 1253 Woodward Avenue. If you’ve never been, please check it out – it’s a great place to grab info about the city, set up a tour or buy some Detroit merchandise created by local artists. Or just get warm…your pick.

Submit your designs via email to

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