Frigid northern China hosts snow and ice sculpture festival

In this Dec. 31, 2016, photo, visitors tour a castle-like structure made from blocks of ice at the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival held in Harbin in northeastern's China's Heilongjiang province. (AP)
In this Dec. 31, 2016, photo, visitors tour a castle-like structure made from blocks of ice at the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival held in Harbin in northeastern’s China’s Heilongjiang province. (AP)

HARBIN, China — The city of Harbin in China’s frigid northeast is hosting one of the world’s largest festivals featuring ice sculptures of animals, cartoon characters and famous landmarks.

The festival, which officially opens late Thursday and last year drew more than a million visitors, showcases the region’s tradition of snow and ice carvings as well as ice swimming in the Songhua River. Harbin’s temperatures can fall to minus 25 degrees Celsius (minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit).MORE