Carving an ice sculpture during Hygge Fest at Fountain Square on Saturday.

The word is Danish.


It’s pronounced “Hoo-ga,” and, according to the organization sponsoring Hygge Fest in Evanston, the meaning doesn’t exactly translate perfectly into English.

But however you say it, and however it translates, the 5th annual Hygge Fest, sponsored by the Downtown Evanston marketing group, brought people to Fountain Square, to watch an ice sculpture being made, sip hot chocolate, toast marshmallows, and even hop into a portable sauna.

Toasting marshmallows over a portable heat source.

Annie Coakley, Downtown Evanston’s executive director, said hygge loosely translates as “cozy,” but is more a description of “everyday life” in Denmark, supposedly the happiest country on earth, where residents find a positive way to “survive six months of winter.”

Two sisters, Rachel Lindy and Rebecca Lindy-Coll, were among those at Hygge Fest on Saturday afternoon.

Sisters Rachel Lindy (L) and Rebecca Lindy-Coll enjoying Hygge Fest.

Rachel lives in Evanston, Rebecca in Vermont.

“This is the first time she’s visited,” Rachel said.

“And who doesn’t love an ice sculpture,” Rebecca added.

The sculpture was a representation of flames. Sort of fire and ice.

Coakley noted the purpose of Hygge Fest “was to have people come downtown and have a good time.”

Nice weather helped bring out a good crowd.

The goal was to “drive traffic” Downtown Evanston’s website, so folks can learn more about other Hygge Fest activities over the next few weeks, along with other downtown activities in a cold month often perceived as a good time to stay home.

“We’re trying to flip the switch on that,” Coakley said.

The weather for Saturday’s events on the Square could not have been better. Chilly but not terribly cold, with a big yellow object visible in the sky … not a spy balloon from China, but rather, something rarely observed in an Illinois winter … the sun.

Still, for a more Danish-like Hygge Fest, Coakley added “I wish it was snowing.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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1 Comment

  1. Congrats to the Downtown Evanston Business District team for promoting and sponsoring this event. Looks like a nice time was had by all!

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