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Harbin International Ice Festival

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The 31th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival opens with a theme "Happy Ice Snow, Exciting City" on January 5 in 2015. The festival is featured by a grand opening ceremony, fireworks display and a series of theatrical performances, ice snow activities in Sun Island, Ice and Snow Amusement World, Zhaolin Park and more venues around ice city Harbin.

The annual Harbin Ice Festival has been held in various forms since 1963, though interrupted for a number of years during the Cultural Revolution, it had resumed by 1985, and is now one of the top ice and snow festivals in the world, along with the famous ones in Sapporo, Norway and Quebec. The festival includes all manner of sporting and cultural events and activities, including ice football, speed skating, sledging, wedding ceremonies on ice and folk song and dance performances.

Walking around the three venues, you'll see world record-sized snow sculptures longer than two football fields, and some ice buildings, palaces, monuments, or statues about 50 meters tall (160 feet high) that you can walk and slide around in and on. These displays are technologically sophisticated, using computer controlled LED and regular lighting to put on stunning displays of changing color and design. For example, there was a replica of the Great Wall of China that people could slide on. Many of the architecture replicas have ice slides. Harbin is called “Ice City,” and the winters are bitterly cold, but the conditions are right for the ice festival.

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