Downtown transforming into a World of Winter


A World of Winter is about to descend upon Grand Rapids.

The third annual World of Winter Festival will transform downtown into a season celebration for a whole month, from Jan. 17 to Feb. 16.

Organized by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and partners, the festival is designed to provide fun ways for people to get outside and enjoy the Michigan winter.

The festival includes numerous events, such as snow yoga, snowshoeing, a silent disco, Human Hungry Hungry Hippos Tournament on Ice, a Lunar New Year celebration, World Market featuring curated artists and local businesses, and more.

One of the signature attractions is Valent-ICE, which decorates downtown with more than 50 ice sculptures.

New to the festival is giant “rainbow ice palace” called Prismatica, an installation of 25 six-foot-tall pivoting prisms, which are set up to transmit and reflect every color in the visible spectrum. After sunset, the illusory effects reach a crescendo. As the prisms rotate, a soundtrack of bells plays in the background.

“We’re essentially building a giant kaleidoscope for people to play in on the banks of the Grand River,” said Kimberly Van Driel, DGRI’s director of public space management.

Prismatica will be on display in the Monroe North neighborhood, at 555 Monroe Ave. NW.

Again this year will be a community painting party of the ice on Rosa Parks Circle. 

All World of Winter events are free or low-cost and are family-friendly.

Photo courtesy DGRI

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