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January 6, 2010

Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

In frigid northeastern China, in the city of Harbin is hosting its 26th annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Massive buildings built of ice from the frozen surface of the nearby Songhua River, large scale snow sculptures, ice slides, festival food and drinks can be found in several parks in the city. At night, visitors who endure the bitter cold will see the lights switched on, illuminating the sculptures from both inside and outside. This year's festival opened yesterday, January 5th, and will remain open until some time in February. Collected here are several photos from just before the festival, and of the opening night. (31 photos total)

A tourist visits an ice sculpture for the 26th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China on January 3, 2010, (REUTERS/Aly Song)

Workers shape snow sculptures prior to the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China on December 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

A man dressed as Mickey Mouse poses in front of a snow sculpture at a park in Harbin, China on January 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A worker shapes a snow sculpture of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong during the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China on January 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A swimmer reacts above the icy waters of the Songhua River during winter in Harbin, China on January 4, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A swimmer warms up before diving into the Songhua River in Harbin, China on January 4, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A swimmer climbs an ice-covered ladder out of the Songhua River in Harbin, China, January 4, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

Workers shape a pagoda snow sculpture at a park in Harbin, China, January 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A bride poses for a photograph after a group wedding ceremony during the 26th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, Heilongjiang province on January 6, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

Couples participate in a group wedding ceremony in front of a snow sculpture of Beijing's Temple of Heaven in Harbin, China on January 6, 2010. The wedding was organized by the city government and 28 couples participated in the ceremony, which was attended by local officials. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

Visitors pose near giant sculptures made from ice and snow before the opening ceremony of the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival in Harbin in northeastern China on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

After nightfall, people visit ice sculptures at a park in Harbin, China on January 3, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

Ice sculptures stand illuminated from within at the annual Ice and Snow festival in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province on January 5, 2010. Fairy tale palaces, towering pagodas, and even an Egyptian Sphinx - all carved from ice - are among the sights at this year's festival. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

A girl stands amongst brightly lit tree lights at the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival in Harbin, China on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Visitors play on an ice sculpture before the festival in Harbin, China on December 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

Ice structures large and small light up a park in Harbin, China during its 26th annual Ice Festival on January 5, 2010. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

People visit an ice Colosseum at the Harbin Ice Festival on January 3, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A visitor climbs on icy stairs on an ice sculpture in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

People visit a brightly-lit ice sculpture in Harbin, China, December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

Visitors walk between buildings made from blocks of ice at the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Workers pass by an ice sculpture in Harbin, Heilongjiang province on December 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

People visit an ice sculpture at a park in Harbin, China, December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

A woman slides down an ice slide at a festival in northeastern China's Heilongjiang province, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

A woman holds a fox as she waits for tourists to take photos in Harbin, China, January 3, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

A worker polishes a Disney-themed ice sculpture before the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival on December 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

People visit tall ice pagodas in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

People at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival climb illuminated stairs on December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

Colorfully illuminated trees and sculptures fill a park in Harbin, China on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Fireworks light up the sky to kick off the annual Ice and Snow festival in Harbin, China on January 5, 2010. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Visitors watch fireworks display during the opening ceremony of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival held in northeastern China's Heilongjiang province, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Fireworks light up the sky behind an ice sculpture during the 26th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, January 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Aly Song) #

Video coverage of the 2010 Harbin Ice Festival from AsianCorrespondent. #

 
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