Top 7 Festivals and Carnivals to Look Forward to this Winter

by Jules on December 27, 2013

Just because its winter doesn’t mean that the fun stops! This winter there are a multitude of events, festivals and carnivals to look forward to across the world.

International Festivals

Hogmanay, Edinburgh, Scotland — The traditional Scottish celebration of the New Year has exploded into a cracking blow-out that spreads like wildfire over the entire city of Edinburgh. Held from 20 December to 1 January 2014, this party includes a city-wide street party, a concert at the city centre, a torchlight parade, the UK’s biggest outdoor ceilidh, and more. The best time of year to experience all things Scottish while celebrating the New Year in a unique way.

Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, China — A spectacular display of artistic design, colour and light carved from over 4 million cubic feet of ice, this unique festival has a particularly interesting conclusion that allows attendees to demolish the creations with ice picks for a fun frenzy of destruction! The festival begins in China’s Heilongjiang province on 5 January and lasts officially about a month, although some artists start earlier and stay longer.

Tromso International Film Festival, Norway — A unique winter festival that screens some of the world’s best independent films — over 100 top quality full length, documentaries, and shorts from 30 countries, viewed by 10,000 visitors a year. Scheduled for January 13-15, 2014, this 20 year old gathering has one of the most interesting venues in the world of cinema — a very popular outdoor theatre.

Canadian Festivals

Winterlude, Ottawa, Ontario — For three weeks in February (January 31 to February 17, 2014), the Canadian capital becomes a veritable winter wonderland. Skate on the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink or the Rideau Canal Skateway, winter sports and clinics, ice sculptures, and an enormous children’s snow playground called Snowflake Kingdom make this an ace new annual tradition for the family. There are also other celebrations of Canadian heritage, with musicians, dancers, street performers, acrobats and circus acts and more.

Bon Soo Winter Carnival, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada — February 7-16, 2014 brings back this annual winter celebration designed to help the community survive the doldrums of winters coldest, darkest winter months. Bon Soo began in the early 60′s, and has evolved to be one of the largest festivals in Canada, offering indoor and outdoor sports, a city-wide decorating contest and a wide range of other activities (including a cardboard outhouse race, toga party, tug-of-war, obstacle race, and more), ice art, music, and a polar bear swim. It has its roots in French Canadian culture, hence the mascot from where it gets its name.

United States Festivals

Fur Rendezvous, Anchorage, Alaska, USA — (aka Fur Rondy) Created in the 1930′s, Fur Rendezvous was created to lift citizens of Anchorage up out of the long, dark Alaska winters with Olympic-style sporting events. It has grown to a giant 10-day party with reindeer and sled dog races, along with the more traditional winter sports such as fun runs, speed skating, snowboarding, and more. Other events include the Grand Parade, arts and crafts celebrating Anchorage culture, and many other fun, quirky activities. The celebration this year takes place from February 21-March 2, 2014.

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, Saranac Lake, New York, USA – Every year, this carnival set in the Adirondack Mountains has a theme — for January 31-February 9, 2014, it’s “Celtic Carnival” — this 117 year-old event began as so many other winter festivals, as a distraction for those suffering from the winter blues. The 10-day celebration includes sports, dances and other performances, parades, and two spectacular fireworks shows exploding over the magnificent ice castle built every year. Nearby is the famous winter village of Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 Olympics, offering more winter fun, sports, shopping and activities.

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