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Running January 28–February 7, the Great Northern festival celebrates our region’s signature cold weather by engaging Minnesotans with 10 days of diverse programming to invigorate the mind and body. During a time when climate change threatens our beloved winter season, the festival seeks to create community, inspire action and share the resilient spirit of the North with the world. Here are 5 ways to join in the exciting action across the Twin Cities.

Photography by Marcus Branch

Educate Yourself on Climate Change

While the Great Northern festival involves joy and celebration, its primary goal is to highlight the existential threat to winter: climate change. There is no place on earth unaffected by warming weather. In our own region, we are already seeing our environment compromised and some of our most beloved traditions diminished. Join marine biologist, policy expert and writer Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Minnesota Public Radio’s Dan Kraker on January 28 for a conversation about climate science, policy and justice.

Photography provided by Josh Fox

Enjoy Live Music Performances

On January 29, the Walker Art Center will present Josh Fox: The Truth Has Changed, a riveting solo performance that confronts us with the reality of the climate crisis in a post-truth world. Another highlight during this year’s festival is a new storytelling and semi-improvised event, The Palms. Featuring renowned photographer Alec Soth and drummer Dave King of the Bad Plus, this world-premiere performance will be streamed live from the Parkway Theater on January 30.

Photography provided by Union Hmong Kitchen

Savor Some Good Eats

On January 27, chef Yia Vang and the Union Hmong Kitchen team are welcoming visitors to a live fire grilling site with optimum viewing for the premiere of Marlena MylesInnerworld Prism, projected onto the Highlight Tower in Northeast Minneapolis. Experience the art and pick up some of the best takeout Minneapolis has to offer. (Online ordering is now available with all orders needing to be placed ahead of the event.)

Photography provided by Tia Keobounpheng

Take in Art Outdoors

Experience “Unweaving,” a temporary outdoor sculpture installation by multidisciplinary artist Tia Keobounpheng that explores the ways that tradition, culture, communities and individuals are unwoven when they are disconnected from their foundation of ancestral history. Access this installation by foot near the trailhead at Theodore Wirth Park. Also, plan your trip to this year’s Winter Carnival snow sculpture contest via its new drive-through experience at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds starting on January 28.

Photography provided by Faribault Woolen Mill

Engage with Local Artisans

Artist Dyani White Hawk and Faribault Woolen Mill have joined forces to design a limited-run winter blanket that launches as part of the Great Northern. Faribault is one of the last vertical woolen mills in the United States, and in collaboration with the American Craft Council, whose mission is to cultivate a culture of making, the collective spotlights Northern winter craft at its finest through complementary perspectives and expertise.

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