The annual Deep Freeze Byzantine Winter Festival features Fairies, Elves, Ogres and races in actual deep freezers that have cross-country skis screwed on.

Winter is the time when even nature wants to curl up under a thick quilt and enter hibernation. Sadly, unlike Polar Bears, we have responsibilities being the more “intelligent” species and in a place like Edmonton where winters last as long as 5 months (Just Canadian Things) they might as well have some fun right? Entering its 9th year, the Deep Freeze Byzantine Winter Festival attempts to get people into the chilly (-7 C to -15 C) outdoors and engage in fun activities over the weekend (January 9-10).

This year’s theme ‘Fairies, Elves and Ogres…Oh My!!’ features live music, dancing, horse and wagon rides, ice skating, storytelling, fireworks, locally made food, and an artisan market and gallery. The magical winter wonderland is made complete with intricate chisel and chainsaw ice carvings. Some of the most popular events are the Cool Runnin’ Deep Freezer Race with teams expected to race while sitting in deep freezers mounted on skis and a three-on-three street hockey tournament with prizes for winners.


The festival will honour its Ukrainian roots with a day-long celebration of Ukrainian culture on Saturday, with folk dancing, choirs and perogies. On Sunday francophone food like tortiere, beans, sugar pie will be served up by organizers. “The festival has really grown. When we first started, I think we had about 1,500 people out for the first one. And now we have about 25,000 people come out for the two days.” said festival art director Christy Morin.


(Image Courtesy : CBC News Canada)