Carnaval de Quebec, Quebec
Canadian winters are long and cold and so most cities have some sort of mid-winter celebration - celebrating the turning point rather than the mid-winter! Quebec's Carnaval claims to be the World's largest and certainly looks like fun.
The event kicks off on either the last Friday of January or the first Friday of February and runs until the middle of February, taking in three weekends. There are shows and parades, cultural events, participatory and spectator sports, the International Snow Sculpture competition and lots of fun things for all the family. An outdoor winter amusement park takes place on the Plains of Abraham and an Ice Palace built across from the Parliament.
Over the course of its 17 days the festival attracts over a million visitors and the bars and restaurants do a roaring trade, as do the hotels. So if considering a visit you need to book well in advance.
Unfortunately I've only visited the city the weekend before the carnival was due to start but seeing the preparations underway certainly served as an appetizer.
These clowns can be seen exclusively at the carnival. Always looking for fun, they will entertain you in more ways than one!
Watch out for them at the giant foosball game!