Despite a wind chill of minus 12 degrees, families filled National Garden Park this past weekend for the 2017 UB Winter Festival.
The family-friendly event, organized for its second year, was initiated to develop winter tourism in Mongolia through engaging outdoor performances and the playing of modern and traditional games, such as archery, ice ankle bone shooting, family relay races, a snow art contest, ski and snowboarding competitions, and ice chess. Ice wall climbing, cycling tours, and dog sledding were also available for visitors to experience at the festival.
Mayor of Ulaanbaatar S.Batbold spoke at the opening of the UB Winter Festival on February 11, noting, “We’re organizing UB Winter Festival 2017 for families this weekend. This festival is very significant for developing winter tourism, promoting national winter games, and increasing the number of tourists visiting Mongolia. We hope to broaden the scope of UB Winter Festival to the same level as winter festivals held in other large cities situated in cold climates. National customs and clothing are the highlights of UB Winter Festival.”
The festival gave local small and medium-sized enterprises the opportunity to promote their products. People who attended the festival were offered free warm drinks and sea buckthorn juice, and had the chance to purchase gifts in preparation for the upcoming Tsagaan Sar holiday.
Many people arrived at National Garden Park wearing colorful and fashionable deel. The festival’s organizers held a special competition to give prizes to one man, woman, and child wearing the best and most unique traditional outfit. A prize was also awarded to a family wearing the best matching deel. The festival featured animal shows and performances by artists of the Ulaanbaatar Ensemble. One of the most impressive performances was that of long song singer D.Shijirmaa, which combined electronic music with the traditional mouth harp.
A festivalgoer who had participated in UB Winter Festival 2014, held at the Tuul River, said that this year’s event was much more fun and held on a larger scale. “This weekend, I’m having a really good time with my family,” he said, and encouraged others to participate in the next festival.
On the second day of the festival, families were able to enjoy performances by contortionists, a parachute team, and a children’s 4-wheel ATV parade.