What surprises can be expected at the Journey to Christmas Festival this season

What surprises can be expected at the Journey to Christmas Festival this season
The festival will be found at 78 sites all over the city. Last year about 14.5 million people visited the Journey to Christmas festival.

The Journey to Christmas winter festival has become a good New Year tradition in Moscow. Seventy-eight festival sites will be open all over the city from 14 December through 13 January. 

“Nine parks will be involved in the programme. These include Krasnaya Presnya, Fili, Sokolniki, Mitino, Kuzminki, Izmailovsky, Babushkinsky and Lianozovsky parks. They will offer immersive shows with a combined running time of over 4,000 hours,” said Director of Sokolniki Park Andrei Lapshin.

He added that over 400 objects of art will be set up in the parks.

What entertainment will be on tap this year?

Topnotch entertainment awaits visitors, like ice dancing, plays, concerts, workshops, sport games, tours, interesting art and certainly a lot of New Year’s trees.

Journey to Christmas includes retail chalets where people can buy bright New Year’s tree decorations, taste special New Year’s food, and buy interesting gifts for family and friends.

Festival sites will be open daily: 11 am – 10 pm weekdays and 10 am – 10 pm weekends.

Golden Mask at the Christmas festival

Next year the Golden Mask Russian national theatrical award will mark its 25th anniversary. In honour of this anniversary, 50 theatre companies will offer their shows to Journey to Christmas Festival visitors.

“In 2019, the Golden Mask Russian national theatrical award will turn 25. It is certainly a great joy for us to take part in the programme of a large festival like the Journey to Christmas Festival,” said Nadezhda Kokoreva, the Golden Mask administrative manager.

She said performances by the prize winning nominees and participants in Golden Mask programmes will be presented at sites all over the city, including Red Square. The programme will also feature street theatre and pageants. Russian companies from Moscow, Krasnodar and Yevpatoria and foreign companies from Italy, France, Belgium, Germany and the UK will take part in the performances.

Tverskaya Square: For literature lovers

The main New Year’s tree on Tverskaya Square will be decorated with harps, feather pens, Russian ABC letters and portraits of writers. These decorative elements will represent three literary genres: prose, poetry and folk tales.

Smaller trees will appear near the statue of Prince Yury Dolgoruky, the founder of Moscow. Each will be decorated in the style of a well-known literary work. Actors portraying well-known writers and characters from their books will meet guests on the open stage at Tverskaya Square. Visitors will be able to see Alexander Pushkin and Eugene Onegin, Ernst Hoffmann and the Mouse King, Alexandre Dumas and his musketeers. Immersive shows dedicated to the literature of other countries will take place on the square every day.

Snow Queen on Tverskoi Boulevard

Snow Queen will be the festival hostess on Tverskoi Boulevard. Festival guests will look inside Kai and Gerda’s house and help the children put together the word “eternity” from ice cubes.

Little kids will have a winter park at their disposal. They will be able to snowboard, ski or ride tubes down an ice slide. Older children will have workshops in blitz chess. Street jugglers will also show their skills.

Manezhnaya Square: Save Christmas

Manezhnaya Square will be the place to play laser tag. It will start with a show in which actors portraying scientists and researchers, supported by the audience, will fight against villains who have stolen Christmas. Guests will be able to decide on which side they want to fight – for the defenders or the kidnappers. This winter battle will take place on a specially equipped platform.

Little children will have no time to be bored on Manezhnaya Square. There will be a skating-rink where children can go tobogganing.

A large ice slide, eight metres high and six metres wide, will appear between Manezhnaya Square and Revolution Square. The slide will be 100 metres long. Attendants will be handing out tubes for the ride.

Revolution Square in the grip of mechanical theatres

Revolution Square will be the site for mechanical theatres that will impress the audience with complicated stage sets with many moving parts. The audience will see heartwarming stories about true love and friendship.

Each mechanical theatre has been especially designed for a single show. With the help of unique stage sets the actors will give new interpretations to old stories: The Little Humpbacked Horse by Pyotr Yershov, Emelya the Simpleton from fairy-tales collected by Alexander Afanasyev, Cinderella by Charles Perrault and many others.

Ice theatres

Ice theatres will be one of the festival’s chief features. They will open on Red Square (near the GUM skating rink) and in Novopushkinsky Garden. Well-known Russian figure skaters, such as Pyotr Chernyshev and Evgeni Plushenko, will take part in the shows. Festival visitors will see ice ballets Cinderella, Snow White, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Cipollino. The audience will also have unexpected treats. Between shows, people will have an opportunity to skate on the ice themselves.

The ice theatre at Novopushkinsky Garden will give evening parties and the GUM skating rink will offer ice-hockey workshops with world champion Alexei Yashin and figure skating classes with Yury Ovchinnikov.

More and more ice

Two ice slides will appear on Stoleshnikov Pereulok: a 15-metre slide for small children and a 40-metre slide for older kids.

An ice slide, 7 metres high, 120 metres long, will be put up on Profsoyuznaya Street. The ice will be brought in from Ural lakes near Yekaterinburg. The ice slide will look like a theatre stage. The curtain painted with fairy-tale castles and children matinee characters will lend the stage a special feel.

From Novy Arbat to Zelenograd: Sport workshops and winter entertainment

Interesting festival venues will open on Novy Arbat and on Yunosti Square in Zelenograd. All those interested will learn curling. World champion prize winners will organise workshops, open training lessons and tournaments.

People will be able to socialise with famous athletes and get their autographs.

The sites in Zelenograd will offer free ski and snowboard rentals. Extreme sport lovers will definitely like the 35-metre ski hill. Festival visitors will be able to compete in snowball marksmanship or push a puck along an ice maze.