Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

VISITORS have been flocking from far and wide to visit the world’s largest ice and snow festival dubbed “Disneyland on ice”.

This is China’s Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival – a family friendly, fun-filled dream land filled with intricately designed, award winning ice sculptures.

China’s Harbin City is home to the world’s largest ice and snow festivalRex

The winter wonderland has been dubbed “Disneyland on ice”Rex

Although its 18 million annual visitors are treated to masses of ice sculptures throughout Harbin City, Sun Island and Ice and Snow World, are the two main areas.

Ice and Snow World area is largely open at night, and features illuminated, to-scale, ice skyscrapers.

In 2014, one snow sculptor recreated New York’s Empire State Building, and in 2018 a 101ft ice tower in the shape of a flamenco dancer’s dress was installed.

On the other side of the river, Sun Island is open throughout the day and features a range of gigantic snow sculptures.

In 2007, this exhibition area famously featured one of the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s largest snow sculpture.

The icy beast was 820ft long, 28ft tall, and used over 42,000 cubric feet of snow.

It was comprised of two parts, a recreation of the Niagara Falls, and the Bering Strait crossing.

Throughout Harbin City there is also an ice lantern exhibition, and the option to participate in winter sports like alpine skiing, winter-swimming, and ice biking.

Or, visitors can lose themselves in ice mazes, shoot down ice slides, and have a full-blown snowball war.

This year, they’ve also added a towering snowflake ferris wheel – so that visitors can take in the entirety of this impressive winter wonderland from the air.

The festival has established itself as one of the best winter celebrations worldwide, and has been pulling in an estimated 28.7 billion yuan (£3.2 billion) per year.

Each inch of this winter wonderland is carefully curated from the icy surface of the Songhua River.

Swing saws are used to carve the ice into blocks, and each block weights hundreds of kilograms.

They need industrial hooks to be lifted out of the river, are then individually dragged to the shore, where forklifts load them onto an army of trucks who take them to Harbin Ice and Snow World.

Ice sculptors then use a variety of smaller saws, chisels, and ice picks to carve out their masterpieces.

Many work night and day to prepare their sculptures in time for the festival.

A wide range of techniques are used – like adding deionised water to produce ice as clear as glass, or placing multicolored lights within the art to delight festival goers at night.

One travel guide said: “I’ve always had a difficult time with winter, or at least the idea of it.

“I’ve associated winter with trauma and misery, irrespective of how I physically react to the cold, and have gone to great lengths to deny its very existence.

“At age 30, I traveled to one of the coldest places on the planet, completely on my own free will.

“It was a surreal, magical experience—and not just because it broke one of my life’s most debilitating existential barriers.

“Exploring China’s Harbin Ice and Snow Festival brought me indescribable joy.

“Three days here made up for all the ‘winter wonderland’ magic I’ve missed most of the rest of my life and, believe it or not, it’s even made me eager to explore more wintry destinations.”

Harbin is located in northeast China and has a cold climate due to its proximity to Siberia, with annual lows of -35 degrees not uncommon.

The festival originated half a century ago, in 1963, as part of Harbin’s traditional ice lantern show, but quite quickly expanded into what it is today.

On average, the festival has covered more than 2 million square feet and makes use of over 900,000 cubic feet of snow and ice.

The festival opened on the 17th of December with its grand opening ceremony, and although it has no closing date the ice tends to melt in March.

This puts London’s much anticipated Winter Wonderland to shame.

This year, the popular Christmas attraction has even come under attack for using two images of an advertisement showing dancers in blackface – as decoration.

A shocked visitor was stunned to see the 1900s drawings and uploaded a video on social media.

Nazlee Radboy captioned her clip, shared on TikTok, and penned: “I don’t care if these posters are ‘fake’ or ‘a part of circus history,’ I think we should question why we still have circuses to begin with.”

The posters were originally advertisements for a circus, and show the De Elmar Trio acrobatic dance group.

A man named William H West was responsible for bringing together the troupe, who regularly performed sketches riddled with racist stereotypes while donning blackface.

While the Winter Funland Christmas market in Manchester has also been slammed for being an overpriced scam.

One dad told Manchester Evening News: “It is basically an overhyped funfair…I’ve seen better at Heaton Park.

“On the website it states more suitable for under nines, but I would say it’s more for ages up to six.

“Typical funfair treats like candyfloss were massively overpriced at £4 each.

“The ice skating rink is tiny to have a comfortable skate on it. I’d say no more than five kids supervised by adults could fit on it. Staff apart from ride operators were nowhere to be seen.

“For a supposedly Christmas-themed event, other than the foyer, there was nothing Christmas-themed about it.

“We lasted around an hour and 30 minutes before leaving massively disappointed after paying over £100.”

Harbin’s festival attracts an average of 18 million visitors from around the world every yearRex

GettyFrom December until March, the city features over 900,000 cubic feet of snow and ice[/caption]

GettyIt has won multiple awards, including a handful of Guinness World Records[/caption]

It pulls in an estimated 28.7 billion yuan (£3.2 billion) per yearRex

GettyIce sculptors from all over the world travel to Harbin to have their artwork featured[/caption]

Some of them even add lights inside the ice to dazzle festival goers at nightRex

AlamyIt has been revealed that many of them work both night and day to get their pieces finished[/caption]

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