The Great Northern, the Twin Cities' expansive winter festival, will be a lot more than cross-country skiing, pond hockey and Vulcans when the 10-day event begins in January.
This week the organization announced a lineup of programming that includes art installations, climate solution talks, dance performances, music, opera, book readings, food pop-up events, sewing circles, stand-up comedy, outdoor movie screenings, a sauna village, fish printmaking and ice-water immersion experiences.
The festival, which was started by Eric Dayton in 2017 as a collaboration between the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival and the St. Paul Winter Carnival, now is an arts and cultural event that embraces partners including the American Swedish Institute, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis College of Art and Design and North House Folk School.
In all, the festival, which runs from Jan. 25 to Feb. 5, will feature more than 60 events at 39 venues that range from Orchestra Hall to the Icehouse restaurant and music space.
Highlights include an outdoor launch party on Jan. 25 at Surly Brewing, which will include food, beverages, saunas, art installations and a participatory singalong.
On Jan. 22 at Silverwood Park in St. Anthony, St. Paul artist Seitu Jones will invite experienced and novice ice fishers to learn the Japanese printmaking technique called gyotaku to imprint images of the fish they just caught. Also at Silverwood Park, participants will be able to try out the Wim Hof Method breathing and ice bath techniques on Feb. 5.
A sauna village with more than a dozen saunas will be installed Jan. 26-Feb. 5 at the Market at Malcom Yards in Minneapolis. Also during the festival, LED light monoliths made by Irregular, a Montreal-based digital art studio, will be placed at CHS Field, Mears Park and Union Depot in St. Paul.
A Climate Solutions Series from Jan. 26-29 at the American Swedish Institute will feature conversations with music producer Brian Eno and Canadian guitarist Donna Grantis on the role of arts in the climate crisis. On Jan. 27, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson will discuss her city's role as a "climate refuge city."
Author Erin Sharkey and contributors Michael Kleber-Diggs, katie robinson and Tia-Simone Gardner will read from the new book, "A Darker Wilderness: Black Nature Writing From Soil to Stars" on Feb. 2 at Open Book Performance Hall.
A closing night party at the Market at Malcolm Yards on Feb. 5 will feature an outdoor screening of "Moonage Daydream," a film about the life of David Bowie.
More information about the festival can be found at thegreatnorthernfestival.com.