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5 Reasons To Brave The Cold For Manitoba’s Winter Music Festival

Why do nearly 100,000 visitors embrace Winnipeg’s winter weather every February? Because for almost 50 years, the French Quarter’s Festival du Voyageur has been throwing the most epic party in the form of a music fest that celebrates the city’s Francophone community. The outdoor festival sets up shop in Whittier Park where more than 150 bands take the stage for 10 days of entertainment. Also: there’s a beard-growing contest. Here’s why you should hit up Festival du Voyageur this winter.

1. Grow a beard, win a prize

The Festival du Voyageur’s beard-growing contest is open to anyone with a chin and a dream. This inclusive, follicle-centric competition allows anyone to enter because according to contest guidelines, a beard in the ‘Open’ category can be any creative take on facial hair — real or fake. The best part is that competitors raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

2. There’s an act for every kind of music lover

Daytime shows hand the stage over to local singer-songwriters and French-Canadian fiddling geniuses. After the sun goes down, expect to hear music from the country’s best rock, rap, and indie bands as you tent-hop across musical genres.

3. It’s actually really easy to stay warm

While this is an outdoor music fest, the organizers at Festival du Voyageur keep it cozy with 2000-person capacity heated tents where the shows take place. And they manage the number of ticket holders to that there’s a warm spot for every single person in attendance.

4. The snow sculpture symposium will blow your mind

Sculptors come from all over the world to take advantage of Winnipeg’s abundance of snow, creating works that seem to defy the limits of physics. For even more extreme artistry, check out the chainsaw carving competition


From maple syrup candy frozen right in front of your eyes to beaver tails to kitchen parties stocked with snacks, drinks, stories, and songs (head to Maison du Bourgeois for these — last year the La Brigade de la Rivière Rouge entertained guests for a full day of the festival) there’s lots to eat and drink (how else do you keep a party going for 10 days straight?).

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