Well before the leaves start to change and the temperature drops, when summer is still in full swing with trips to the pool and backyard BBQs, Federation’s NEXTGen Detroit is thinking about late November. Why? For over a decade, the Saturday night after Thanksgiving has been the date for their biggest event of the year, and outdoing themselves each year has become a welcomed challenge for the staff, event co-chairs and committee members who make it their mission to top every Latke Vodka that has come before.
“Latke Vodka is a tradition for so many young Jewish Detroiters. People know exactly where they’re going the Saturday night after Thanksgiving,” said Ashley Silverman, NEXTGen Detroit Board member who is chairing the event for her second time. “With tons of people coming back year-after-year, we constantly need to think of new ideas to make the night feel fresh while still giving our guests the event elements that they’ve come to love.”
NEXTGen Detroit, the young adult division of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, welcomes 1,000 party-goers to Latke Vodka every year, close to a third of whom are native Detroiters currently living out-of-state.
“Latke Vodka is a chance to be welcomed back home. The response from young expats and Detroiters who attend is initially a bit of shock and then excitement,” says event co-chair and NEXTGen Detroit Board member Michael Rubyan. “Looking out at a sea of people in three packed adjacent venues in Midtown Detroit — you can’t deny that young Jewish life in Detroit is alive and thriving.”
Sponsored once again by Detroit Popcorn Company, Latke Vodka is returning to the Majestic Theatre, Majestic Café and Garden Bowl on Woodward. The event, which traditionally had been held in Royal Oak, moved to the city two years ago. The current venue offers three distinct areas for guests to explore, each featuring different entertainment, food and music.
“The Majestic Theatre is the largest space in the venue, and we really want to embrace the fact that it’s a theater at heart,” said Alex Scharg, NEXTGen Detroit Board member and event co-chair. “Our vision for the event this year is inspired by Cirque du Soleil, and we’re working to make this a real production with live performers and an interactive, decorative space to bring the theme to life!”
The event will also include dueling DJs battling it out on old-school turntables. The Garden Bowl will again be open for guests, this year with a competitive twist and the chance to win some great prizes. But it’s the interactive surprises that NEXTGen Detroit is most excited about.
“Our Latke Vodka committee is thinking way outside of the box this year and exploring very cool local vendors, artists and performers to make this an event for all the senses,” said Alyssa Gorenberg, NEXTGen Detroit’s lead staff for the event.
Tickets to Latke Vodka are $20 at LVintheD.org or $25 at the door. From every ticket sold, $18 is a gift to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, making everyone who purchases a ticket a donor to Federation’s 2017 Annual Campaign.