This winter's Great Northern Festival features big spectacles. A 100-foot ice bar set in downtown Minneapolis. A village of 20 saunas outside at Malcolm Yards. An epic meal dubbed "The Last Supper," highlighting foods that could disappear because of climate change.

But there are simpler events, too. Guided walks. Climate talks.

The lineup, which the Great Northern announced Tuesday, includes more than 50 events across the Twin Cities in January and early February. Set against subzero temperatures, the festival celebrates the season while highlighting how climate change threatens it.

"The Great Northern is not only a symbol and celebration of winter culture in the north, but it also roots us in that sense of responsibility to preserve this place, which I think we all deeply care about," said Jovan C. Speller Rebollar, the new executive director of the nonprofit that runs the festival.

The 2024 fest expands the popular Sauna Village that debuted last winter, hosting nearly 4,000 people in a collection of saunas at Malcolm Yards.

"This year we're ready for twice that many people," said John Pederson of Superior Sauna, lead partner for the Sauna Village. Expect new and varied programming, including silent saunas and athletic saunas. "So there'll be a little something for everyone this year."

The fest is filled with fireside dinners, pop-up kitchens and the 100-foot ice bar on Nicollet Mall.

A trio of big-name chefs — Minneapolis-based Andrew Zimmern, former White House chef Sam Kass and Marque Collins of Tullibee — will host "The Last Supper," giving attendees a chance to say goodbye to foods whose existence could be threatened by climate change. A ticket for the meal, held at the Hewing Hotel, costs $385.

"Chocolate, salmon, wine, coffee, just to name a few," Zimmern said at a press event Tuesday at Surly Brewing Co. "I don't know if all of those are going to be gone in 20 years, but I bet one or two of them will."

And if they aren't, they might be too expensive for most people to enjoy, he continued. "It's a shocking thing to think about," he said, but look at the unprecedented decline in snow crabs.

"Calling attention to our climate crisis is, I think, a really valuable thing," said Zimmern, a James Beard Award winner. "I think the best way to do it, ironically, is to celebrate that food."

This winter's festival will again include a Climate Solutions Series, with more than a dozen talks on topics such as sustainable architecture and fashion industry regulation, with speakers including Canadian architect Omar Gandhi and eco-activist and drag queen Pattie Gonia.

And, as always, there will be plenty of art and music.

A concert at First Avenue will bring together Indigenous musicians and feature a powwow performance by supergroup Bizhiki, with Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings, Joe Rainey Sr. and S. Carey. At the Minneapolis Institute of Art, composer Steve Heitzeg and violinist Ariana Kim will premiere a multi-movement work in complete darkness. Singer, dancer and filmmaker Tunde Olaniran will screen a "Thriller"-esque short film that grew out of the Flint, Mich., water crisis.

"Winter is a prime time for art," said Kate Nordstrum, chief programming officer. "Art inspires, art invigorates. It's the time of year I think we need art the most."

The 2024 fest will be the first co-led by Speller Rebollar, who started as executive director in May. She encountered the Great Northern as an artist, co-creating one of its most distinctive installations, an icy greenhouse called "Conservatory."

Being from Los Angeles, she didn't "do cold." But the festival changed her relationship with the season, she said Tuesday.

"I've been really inspired by the Great Northern's work to become this kind of entryway and platform for people like me to learn about what winter culture is," she said, "to actually get motivated to leave the house and be outside during the cold season and to build community to care about seasonality and locality. ...

"What does it mean to embrace fully the place that you live?"

Speller Rebollar also is a mom of two kids, ages 3 and 5, so she pushed the organization to deepen its family programming. Those programs include a free Midwinter Melt at Silverwood Park, with kicksledding, snowshoeing and s'more-making.