This week was Kiruna’s annual ‘Snow Festival’, and as usual nature had obliged by delivering quite a lot of the stuff over the last couple of months.

However, while visitors are attracted to Kiruna and its festival by the main ingredient – snow – as has been noted here before, Kiruna’s primary focus is on removing it. Is it a touch ironic that a race between snow clearing machines is the highlight of a ‘Snow Festival’?

Yes all you lovely people, do come here and enjoy our wonderful snow, but all we really care about by this time of year (it’s been falling now since the beginning of November) is how to get rid of the damn stuff. Well it’s honest at least.

Visitors clearly found it amusing but mainly because of the incongruity of a race between small machinery, and the fact that ‘race’ hardly describes the feeling of a snow clearing machine which can only move at the pace of a snail.

So what else draws visitors from far and wide? Oh that wonderful magical sparkling feeling of lights on snow-covered trees set against starry skies. That feeling of midwinter that is so hard to experience at most latitudes these days but is guaranteed in Kiruna. It’s only January after all – and there’s a mass of snow, so to any visitor, this is clearly the land of midwinter dreams.

But no, the week before the Snow Festival, Kiruna decided that midwinter is well and truly over (for heaven’s sake, we have five whole hours of daylight now!) and so they took down all the pretty lighting in the trees around town. So – no magical snowy trees here, it’s spring! Fortunately perhaps, visitors weren’t to know they’d just missed them.

Ha ha! I already had my chuckle face on when I read about two special treats for children this year.

In the town hall there would be an ‘igloo’ where Emma and Samir would tell the story of the local council’s new project, ‘KirunaBo’. One wonders what this ‘project’ might be. It sounds remarkably like the name of a project announcing (yet again) the rebuilding of Kiruna. Perhaps this project proposes that everyone build their own igloo?

The theatre entertainment this year – again for children – would be ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, the story of how the Emperor was told he had new clothes and he and everyone else believed it, even though he was naked. Could this refer to the local council’s insistence that they really are building a new Kiruna as they promised (we just can’t see it)?

Meanwhile the other highlight of the ‘Snow Festival’ was nothing to do with snow. It was the opportunity to have a guided tour of the reception area of the new town hall, being built in Kiruna’s new town area, out of town. You also get to meet the local politicians responsible for the fact that not a single other building has yet been built in the area, and even the town hall isn’t finished yet.

Are they having a laugh? What festival visitors would bother with that? Wait a minute – I see they’re offering free coffee and buns. It’ll be packed!