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February 23, 2013

Annual festival aims to shake winter doldrums

Annualfestivaltakes aimat winterdoldrums

MONTREAL — Montreal en Lumiere, Montreal’s midwinter bash, serves up some fine dining, performance art and family-style fun. 

Here are some highlights of this year’s Montreal en Lumiere, which runs through Sunday, March 3.

FAMILY FUN

The main outdoor events take place at Place des Festivals in the heart of downtown, adjacent to the Place des Arts complex.

The outdoor site features free concerts, a family-fun zone, multimedia-interactive light shows and a 60-foot indoor sphere where revelers can dance the night away.

Photography takes center stage with many events, including “La Grande Family Photo,” which is held at 7:30 tonight. Here, visitors and winter revelers get their chance to say “Cheese” in a really big way — participants receive handheld sparklers and get to pose for a gigantic photo that will be posted on the event webpage.

And speaking of cheese, if a healthy snack is in order, just across the street, Complexe Desjardins hosts the “Festival of our Cheeses,” a showcase of tasty provincial-cheese workshops and tastings. It starts at 11:30 a.m.

More photo ops can be enjoyed at two exhibitions: “10 years of Nuit Blanche in Photos,” which pays tribute to the fest’s closing event in photos and poster art, and “Images of Buenos Aires,” a colorful look at the city’s neighborhoods, public squares and monuments. The exhibit showcases Buenos Aires as this year’s international foodie destination.

The on-site family-fun zone offers many activities, including a Ferris wheel and a hockey-shootout-skill activity. Additionally, there is an interactive laser event where attendees can draw an original piece of art that’s projected onto a nearby building as well as the perennial favorite ice slide that tallies in at 360 feet long complete with twists, turns and integrated light and sound effects.

Care to dance? An Argentinean-themed festival wouldn’t be complete without free tango demonstrations and workshops hosted by Dance School Las Piernas. The lessons are held at 5:30 p.m. at the Place des Arts esplanade today; Wednesday, Feb. 27; Thursday, Feb. 28; Friday, March 1; and Saturday, March 2.

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