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Harbin Ice and Snow Festival kicks off

Harbin, the capital of China's now-frozen northeastern Heilongjiang province is holding its annual International Ice and Snow Festival. It opens on Tuesday, but some visitors couldn't wait to enjoy the Disney-themed ice park.

Locals and tourists are already enjoying glittering ice sculptures, and braving temperatures way below zero in a Disney world. The Ice Show takes up residence in a central park each year.

Minnie, Mickey and other characters from the popular franchise are accompanied by fairyland towers and castles. Tunnels, rooms and even slides are all made entirely out of ice.

Huge chunks are cut from the Songhua River, and chiseled into translucent sculptures.

Colored lights set inside create what the Chinese call ice lanterns.

A Jilin tourist said, "It's very exciting. One of the most exciting cities in the east and I've never come before. It's my first time seeing so many beautiful ice sculptures and lanterns. But this year is really cold."

Tourists pose near a snow sculpture during the 26th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, January 5, 2010.[Photo/Agencies]
Tourists pose near a snow sculpture during the 26th Harbin International 
Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, January 5,
2010


While global warming has been making headlines internationally, Harbin is enjoying one of its coldest winters in years. Monday's lowest temperature reached minus 27 degrees Celsius.

But the biting winds also draw tourists from southern China, where snowfall is extremely rare.

A Guangxi tourist said, "Guangxi, where I'm from, is a very hot place, and here is the coldest place. The weather feels great, really satisfying."

Harbin's annual ice festival is now in its 26th year. It offers a month of ice swimming, ice weddings, and just about anything else for frosty fun. Click here for Harbin Ice Festival Tour.

Source: CCTV NEWS