As the temperatures began to dip below zero, Minneapolis and St. Paul launched their newest event – The Great Northern.

The 10-day event is a seasonal celebration that acts as a culmination of all of Minneapolis and St. Paul’s winter events.

Kicking off Thursday with the opening of Fire & Ice: A Winter Carnival Art Show, the Great Northern includes the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships and the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival. Additionally, it will include several new installations that feature the local arts community.

“Winter is all around us and it’s a constant source of inspiration for locally-based artists. The ice, the snow and the cold create a unique canvas that’s as beautiful as it is challenging, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to bring something new to Saint Paul and Minneapolis,” Steve Dietz, President and Artistic Director of Northern, said in a recent press release.

The Great Northern is underway now and will run through Feb. 5.

For more information, visit the Great Northern online.


A partial list of events is as follows. A complete list can be found online.

Fire & Ice: A Winter Carnival Art Show
Jan. 12 – Feb. 19

The exhibition, part of the St. Paul Winter Carnival, features work from over 75 local artists. It is open from 5 – 8 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.


St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Carving Contest in Rice Park
Jan. 26 – Jan. 29

The festival’s annual ice carving competition returns at the end of January. Artists will create carvings using an array of tools in an array of temperatures. Carving kicks off Thursday, Jan. 26. The multi-block competition will be held 7 p.m. Jan. 26 through 7 p.m. Jan. 28. The individual block competition will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 29.

Viewing is open through Feb. 4.


Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Contest
Jan. 27 – Jan. 29

From ice to snow, The St. Paul Winter Carnival celebrates sculptures of all types. The Snow Sculpting Contest begins at 8 a.m. Jan. 27, with judging at 1 p.m. Jan. 29. The sculptures can be viewed until Feb. 4.


 2017 Winter Jazz Festival
Jan. 28 – Jan. 29

This year, St. Paul decided to jazz up its winter carnival. Literally. The 2017 Winter Jazz Festival is an outdoor festival that takes place across the city, much like the summer festival. A list of performers, as well as performance times, can be found online.


Jan. 29

Presented by Northern and Barbette, B-Lectric features custom ice walls that act as projection screens for light-based art and documentaries. The walls will be outside of the French restaurant in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood.

The art and films will be shown from 4:30 – 9 p.m.


Living Banners and Words for Winter
Jan. 30 – Feb. 5

Presented by Northern with support from the Minneapolis Foundation and Downtown Improvement District, Living Banners by Piotry Szyhalski is a poetry-inspired art installation that will be displayed along Nicollet Mall between 12th and 5th Streets. Each installation features a work of art and a short poem about winter. They will be displayed on electronic road construction signs.

The art is visible all day. Sound and light shows will take place in Peavy Plaza hourly beginning at 5:20 p.m. and ending at 8:20 p.m.


The Frozen Film Festival
Feb. 1 – Feb. 4

In its second year, the Frozen Film Festival continues to celebrate independent film. To see which films will be aired, and at what time, visit the St. Paul Film Festival online.


Luminary Loppet
Feb. 4

The Great Northern ends with the City of Lakes Luminary Loppet. As in years past, Lake of the Isles will be lit up at dusk and transformed into a winter luminary. Guests can ski, snowshoe or walk around the displays of luminaries, ice pyramids, fire dancers and more.

The Luminary Loppet begins at 6 p.m. Registration is required.

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