World of Winter is a free celebration of DJs, ice sculptures, concerts, food, a series and more that takes place in downtown Grand Rapids each year from January through March.
Exhibitions include Massimals Polar Bears by Scroggin Studio, a line of large abstract polar bear sculptures, and Wave by Squidsoup, an immersive walk through experience of 500 tall orbs suspended.
Other attractions include the Valent-ICE ice sculpture exhibition and events such as a Silent Disco, a drag show, walking tours and live performances.
Local businesses like House of Wine see upticks in customers. “We especially enjoyed being able to pour to-go Downtown Refreshment cocktails like Mulled Wine for guests who were out viewing different World of Winter attractions,” said Emily Lynch, co-owner of House of Wine. “We hope to see it return again next year,”
Many downtown Grand Rapids restaurants and bars set up outdoor spaces for the festival. “Outdoor heated domes provide a great way to enjoy the cozy wintery charm while enjoying some of the best food around, ” said Sara Moore, a local resident.
When you’re done exploring art, head to a Refreshment Area where you can purchase marked containers and enjoy a cocktail or a brew as you walk around parts of the city.
“The World of Winter festival is designed to encourage folks to get outside during the winter season. Grand Rapids is beautiful all four seasons of the year, and this festival helps people have a reason to enjoy downtown during the cooler months, said Samantha Suarez, communications manager of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. “
Megan Catcho, the event coordinator, said the festival was also a boon to local businesses . “As far as vendors for World of Winter, it actually hasn’t been too bad! I’ve found that many of our vendors throughout the festival are eager to get back out there. It’s always such a pleasure to be able to give them the platform to do so.”
Suarez said in future festivals you can expect the festival to grow bigger with more art installations and ice sculptures.
“It gives them a chance to get their names out there during the winter, where business can sometimes be slower depending on the type of business they are. It also may help expand their clientele.”
Visit worldofwintergr.com for additional event details and a calendar list of events.
World of Winter video of exhibits Credit: Sarah Marilyn