Night Thread of the Harbin Ice Festival (12/1)

As the weather starts getting colder, it’s fun to think of ways to make things fun. When life gives you snow, you make snowmanade. Or if life gives your ice… you make ridiculously large ice sculptures.

If you look at the tiny shadows at the bottom of the above picture: those are tourists.

Harbin, China, hosts the largest ice and snow festival in the world. Officially the “Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival”, the event attracts about 18 million visitors and features full sized, illuminated sculptures of buildings.

There’s also skiing and winter swimming, which I’m assuming is done at the local hot springs. Harbin gets cold winds coming down from Siberia, so it gets a little chilly in the city of 10 million. While surfing the net, I discovered that temperatures got as cold as -40 degrees Celsius. Harbin is earning its “Ice City” nickname.

The festival’s been going on since 1963, when it was a much more humble affair. It started off as a winter garden party. Now ice sculptors from several different countries come to contribute in creating a temporary city made of ice.

The Festival doesn’t start until January, so you have some time to book tickets if you want to freeze your toes off while checking out some pretty ice buildings.