Edmonton's Deep Freeze Festival returns for 9th year

The Deep Freeze Byzantine Winter Festival is returning to 118th Avenue this weekend, leaving Edmontonians with no excuse to stay indoors.

Bundle up and head to 118th Avenue for food, folk and winter fun

The Deep Freeze: Byzantine Winter Festival will take place along 118th Avenue from 90th to 94th Street this Saturday and Sunday. (Deep Freeze: Byzantine Winter Festival/Facebook)

The Deep Freeze Byzantine Winter Festival is returning to 118th Avenue this weekend, leaving Edmontonians with no excuse to stay indoors.

"It's taken northern Canadians of European descent a long time to understand that more than half our year is winter, and we can't hide out inside all year because we're going to miss a lot of the good things in life," artistic director Allison Argy-Burgess said Tuesday. 

"Winter is part of life, and you might as well be out there doing something."

This year, the festival is honouring its Ukrainian roots with a day-long celebration of Ukrainian culture on Saturday, with folk dancing, choirs and perogies. On Sunday, the focus will shift to all things francophone as organizers serve up tortiere, beans, sugar pie "and all the things you expect for francophone food," Argy-Burgess said. 

Another highlight will be the Deep Freezer Race, she said. 

"As it sounds, it's old chest freezers that have cross-country skis screwed on to the bottom of them and then people jump inside and their teammates push them across a race course."

The other important information Argy-Burgess wanted to share: the event is all free, family-friendly, and warming stations are available.

"You won't freeze," she promised. "It's like an Old World European fair in the wintertime. You walk the streets and there's flags blowing in the wind and tents and all kinds of animation and activity on the avenue — and it's wintertime."

Click here for more information about this year's festival.

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