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7 Global Festivals That Celebrate Ice and Snow

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! At these festivals around the world, the more chill in the air, the better to celebrate all things winter. There is still time it to make the 2019 celebrations, so if you are traveling on an educational tour this January and February, you’ll want to bring your hats, scarves and a big sense of wonder.




1. Montreal Snow Festival (Fetes de Neige) – Montreal, Quebec
Saturday, January 19, 2019 – Sunday, February 10, 2019

Held annually in Parc Jean-Drapeau, the Montreal Snow Festival is now in its 36th year! Activities include ice skating, snow shoeing, inner tubing, winter parades, and concert performances.



2. Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival – Harbin, China
December 24, 2018 – February 28, 2019

Visitors come from around the world to see the incredible constructions at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Every year has new features, from a full size Egyptian sphinx to a replica of an imperial palace, so making a repeat visit is worth the long flight!





3. Ice Magic Festival – Banff, Alberta
January 16-27, 2019

The Ice Magic Festival combines the natural beauty of Lake Louise in Alberta with the extraordinary talents of ice sculptors from around the world. Check out the promotional video to see some of the stunning creations.


Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise, Banff from Jeff Walker on Vimeo.





4. Ottawa Winterlude Festival – Ottawa, Canada
February 1 – February 18, 2019

Canada’s capital city has hosted a winter festival for 41 years and all signs point to increasing popularity. Visitors can skate the Rideau Canal, the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink, see Ice Dragon Boat races, watch ice carving competitions unfold in real time and enjoy the snow sculpture exhibitions.





5. International Snow Sculpture Championships – Breckenridge, Colorado
January 21-30, 2019

On your mark, get set, go build a snow man! The International Snow Sculpture Championships bring the best-of-the-best snow artisans together for a week long competition. 16 teams are each given a 20-ton block of snow to transform into a sculpture, and the results are jaw-dropping.


6. St. Paul Winter Carnival – St. Paul, Minnesota
January 25-February 10, 2018

The St. Paul Winter Carnival has been ongoing since 1886 and continues to astound visitors with its signature ice sculpture garden. Other activities include parades, an autonomous snowplow competition and a Queen of Snow pageant.

Credit Wikimedia Commons


7. Sapporo Snow Festival – Hokkaido, Japan
January 30 – February 11, 2019

The Sapporo Snow Festival began in 1950, with six high school students building snow creations in Odori park. Now, hundreds of thousands of visitors come each year to see the professional sculptures constructed across the city.








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