Top Winter Festivals for Fun in the Cold
Winter is a magical time of year to head outdoors and embrace the beauty of snow and ice. Across North America and around the world, many cities and towns host lively winter festivals and carnivals. These seasonal celebrations invite everyone to take part in public art displays, fun contests, entertainment, and winter sports.
The festivals often feature impressive ice sculptures that really showcase the artistic side of winter. So get ready for some frosty fun and check out these top winter festivals.
Fire & Ice Festival in Canandaigua, New York
The Fire & Ice Festival brings icy art downtown in Canandaigua, New York on February 17-18, 2024. Giant ice sculptures line the streets for all to admire. Watch ice carvers compete to make the best sculptures. Try to win the frozen t-shirt contest. Sip warm drinks along the beverage trail. And stay toasty at the fire shows.
Snow Days in Banff and Lake Louise, Canada
In Banff and Lake Louise, Canada, Snow Days runs January 19-February 4, 2024. The festival got extended to 16 days this year. A highlight is the Ice Magic Competition returning to Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Top ice carvers from around the world will sculpt stunning, large-scale artwork fitting the theme “Moments of Bliss in Banff National Park.” Downtown Banff also has a snow sculpture trail.
Other activities include skijoring, an outdoor winter play zone, dog sledding, skating on Lake Louise, and sleigh rides.
Lake Geneva Winterfest in Wisconsin
Lake Geneva’s Winterfest in Wisconsin takes place January 31-February 4, 2024. A big draw is the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship. For the only event like it nationwide, 15 teams sculpt gigantic pieces. View the finished sculptures and enjoy live music, bonfires on the beach, and more.
International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado
From January 22-31, 2024, the International Snow Sculpture Championships come to Breckenridge, Colorado. Teams hand-carve massive 25-ton snow blocks into art without power tools. Sculpting week is January 22-26. Then the sculptures become a public gallery from January 26-31. See these stunning creations before they melt.
Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan
Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival runs February 4-11, 2024 with illuminated snow sculptures in Odori Park. International teams compete to build the best large sculptures. Susukino Ice World in Sapporo hosts unique ice sculptures with neon lighting. A new snow festival area at Tsudome has a huge snow tube slide and snow rafts.
Fire and Ice Winter Festival in Ely, Nevada
The Fire and Ice Winter Festival in Ely, Nevada brings wintry fun January 12-14, 2024. Watch artists carve snow sculptures and show off your skills in games like darts and disc golf. At night, go on a pub crawl or rock out at a concert. A highlight is riding a vintage train shooting off fireworks.
Vilnius Light Festival in Lithuania
Vilnius, Lithuania’s annual Vilnius Light Festival transforms the city January 25-28, 2024. Modern, interactive light installations turn the Old Town into an outdoor art gallery. New locations join this year, along with collaborations between international and local artists.
The Great Northern in Minneapolis and St. Paul
The Great Northern festival in Minneapolis and St. Paul runs January 25-February 4, 2024. It gets people active outdoors in creative ways while celebrating winter. Events require tickets. Highlights are the sauna village, ice bar, snow sculpting, and more.
Montréal en Lumière in Canada
Montréal en Lumière in Canada celebrates its 25th anniversary February 29-March 4, 2024. It combines food, entertainment and the magic of winter. Events include outdoor skating and indoor shows.
For the Nuit Blanche, experience cultural happenings all over Montreal. Top international chefs will cook at Montreal restaurants for “Air France Finest Tables.”
Scandihoovian Wintzr Festival in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin
Mount Horeb’s Scandihoovian Winter Festival embraces the town’s Scandinavian roots February 9-11, 2024. Look for people in pointy red gnome hats straight from Nordic folklore. Events include turkey bowling on ice, snow sculptures, a scavenger hunt, kids’ games, and a fat tire bike race.
Carnaval de Québec in Canada
Québec City’s Carnaval de Québec turns 70 in 2024, January 25-February 11. Fresh activities include massive sliding hills and night parades. Tradition returns too, like Bonhomme, the snowman mascot, and the ice canoe race. The festival promises a true Canadian winter experience.
So bundle up and make magical memories this winter at a festival near you or across the globe. Admire artistry in ice and snow, cheer on brave competitors, and join in the merrymaking with delicious food, entertainment, and winter sports. These lively festivals offer the best ways to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
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