Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Iceland Warms Up for the Winter Lights Festival

Whether it's the Northern Lights or the Blue Lagoon that have enticed you to Iceland in winter, Reykjavik's annual public arts event promises to keep you there. The capital and its surroundings will be illuminated from February 6-15 for Iceland’s amazing Winter Lights Festival.

"Pixel Cloud" by Marcos Zotes
Founded to combat the deep black winter, Winter Lights focuses on evening events that emphasize the beauty of Reykjavik City and its place in the world.

During these two weeks, a number of light-art installations will illuminate prominent buildings and public spaces. A mapped out Trail of Lights leads past these special lightworks commissioned for the festival, which will then be shown in the towns of Torshavn and Manchester as well.

Following the opening night ceremony, top musicians from Colorado will join Icelanders in "Denver Calling," a cross-cultural live concert featuring Högni Egilsson (Hjaltalín & Gus Gus), Lay Low and Snorri Helgason from Iceland, and Tyler Ludwick (Princess Music), Esmé Patterson (Paper Bird) and Jesse Elliott (Ark Life) of Denver.

Count on seeing a variety of exhibitions, poetry reading, outdoor performances and more. On February 7th, Museum Night, 40 different museums will remain open, free of charge, until midnight, so that visitors can checkout the local art scene.

February 8th, International Children’s Day, is being celebrated at Gerðuberg Museum. Families will find multilingual activities ranging workshops in sound technology to the creation of shadow-puppet shows and sky-lanterns.

"Rafmognuonatturua" by Marcos Zotes
February 11 is more about what Iceland is mistaken for: ice -- actually snow, as it's the annual Snow Sculpture event at the Blafjoll Ski Resort.  Snow sculptors from Breckenridge, Colorado will be on hand to demonstrate their expertise.

The International 5K Electric Run coursing through neon-lit neighborhoods is a new sporty addition to the festival this year. But fitness fans will agree that the best event is Pool Night, this year on February 15th, when the city's major waterways are open and beautifully illuminated for visitors to enjoy. The Reykjavik pools open free of charge are at Laugardalslaug, Sundhöll, Grafarvogslaug, Lágafellslaug and Álftaneslaug and the Ylströnd thermal beach.

For more information, follow Winter Lights Festival for the latest schedule updates. For ideas on where to stay and other activities, go to the Visit Reykjavik tourist office site.

Photos by Raggi Th. Sigurðsson, courtesy Winter Lights Fest

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