The Great Northern Festival is adding diversity and breadth to its line-up of events, which run from Jan. 28 through Feb. 7.

It’s enlisted big names from the local art world and restaurant scene as well as drawing a globally recognized climate scientist.

Under the direction of its new executive and artistic director Kate Nordstrum, the festival’s mission has expanded from primarily athletic events to include more culinary and cultural programming (with chefs Yia Vang and Sean Sherman), visual arts and music (photographer Alec Soth collaborating with drummer/composer Dave King), as well as a forum on climate science, policy and justice with Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson.

With COVID-conscious activities from winter bird-watching to site-specific outdoor sculpture installations to a virtual film festival, Nordstrum said the festival will invigorate not just the body, but the mind and soul.

Three years ago, the Great Northern got its start as an umbrella organization for the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships and the City of Lakes Loppet to create more synergy among the longtime winter traditions.

Find a full schedule of events at