2011 Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival under Way

Every year, in January and February, Harbin (Haerbin), China's northernmost major city, holds a festival that, fittingly enough, features ice-and-snow. This year the festival started on January 5 and will continue through February.

The festival offers exhibitions of ice-sculptures and ice-lanterns as well as concerts and sports events at over 20 locations and venues across the city and in neighboring areas. The main site for the festival is the Harbin Ice and Snow World, which, recently expanded, occupies 14 acres of land. For this year's festival, the park, which located north of the Songhua River that flows through Harbin, has the theme "Fabled World."

Harbin has sponsored the annual festival since 1985and the current is its 27th. In addition to fun related to ice and snow, the festival has also served as a trade fare, with businessmen from across China and around the world, especially Russia, Japan and Korea, showing up to hunt for goods and opportunities in China's northeastern region. At the trade fare this year there will be over 2,000 stalls and an estimated 20,000 business people to come in for talks and deals.