Let it snow: China builds "world's largest" ice Santa

Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:31am EST
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

HARBIN, China (Reuters) - China's freezing northern city of Harbin is building what organizers say is the world's largest Santa Claus ice sculpture.

The giant Father Christmas, 160 meters (525 ft) long and 24 meters high, centers on an enormous face of Father Christmas, complete with flowing beard and hat.

Its huge size and unseasonably warm temperatures have made the job especially challenging, said Tang Guangjun, one of the sculptors.

"It is even bigger and higher than last year's, and more difficult. The weather swings between warm and cold, so it becomes very wet and slippery on the ice. It is very dangerous for us," he told Reuters Television.

Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province on the edge of Siberia, is one of China's coldest places. Winter temperatures can drop to below minus 35 degrees Celsius (- 31 F).

Every year the city plays host to a world-renowned ice festival. But the effects of global warming are taking a toll as the snow and ice now melt more rapidly than in the past.

Organizers said they had to artificially make snow for the Santa Claus sculpture.

Still, the sculpture has attracted thousands of tourists from all over the country who want to enjoy a white Christmas despite worries over the economic downturn.

Many said such tourism could help to boost the economy.   Continued...

 
<p>People visit a giant Santa Claus ice sculpture for the upcoming 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province December 24, 2008. China's freezing northern city of Harbin is building what organisers say is the world's largest Santa Claus ice sculpture. REUTERS/Sheng Li</p>