China Ice Festival draws millions

Posted at 9:06 AM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 11:06:52-05

A glittering winter wonderland built of ice and snow delighted thousands of tourists and locals in Harbin City of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province on its inauguration day of Sunday.

Each year, millions of people flock to Harbin to participate in the annual Ice and Snow Festival.

In the dark depths of winter in the northernmost province of China, a riot of fireworks and twinkling lights sparkles in the night sky.

Thousands of visitors are braving some of the coldest temperatures in China to experience the annual display. These exhibits are entirely built of snow and ice.

"I came with my parents. My father has never seen the ice sculptures before, but he knows they are magnificent, so I want to show my parents what it looks like. After I came, I realized the sculptures are very beautiful indeed. We don't even want to leave," said a visitor on the site.

The Sun Island, and the Harbin Ice and Snow World are the two largest sites of the festival.

This year, the Sun Island covers an area of 600,000 square meters. Some 110, 000 cubic meters of snow has been used for these hand-carved structures.

Visitors were captivated by the displays.

"At first I thought it was boring to see the sculptures. But once I am here and blend in with the nature, I feel different. The frigid weather and the snow only enhances the beauty of each one at this moment," said another visitor.

For some hardy swimmers, the cold weather is perfect.

The swimming competition held by the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival was among the first events, with over 200 swimmers from 42 teams are competing.

The ice swimming event is an annual tradition in Harbin. It is one of the first in the month-long Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

The festival, now in its 36th year, is held this year across four theme parks around the city.