The Northern Lights, wooden elk and ice instruments at Nordic Cool

As of Tuesday, it's going to be a struggle for commuters to keep their eyes on the road during the evening drive across Roosevelt Bridge. Fluorescent swirls of color mimicking the Northern Lights will blanket the Kennedy Center each night during the month-long Nordic Cool, a festival celebrating the cultures of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, as well as Greenland, the Áland Islands and the Faroe Islands.

Other highlights among the 750 visiting artists, actors, chefs, dancers, musicians, filmmakers and writers include a man who plays instruments made of ice, a free showcase of musicians from Iceland's Airwaves Festival, wooden elk stationed on the center's grounds, cooking demonstrations that will make locavores rejoice and a 180-foot boat made from 1,200 donated shirts, which will dominate the Hall of States.

Tickets are selling out fast for some acts, but there are still plenty of opportunities to see some spectacular examples of Nordic culture. You can read more about Nordic Cool stand-outs, see a full list of events or visit the Kennedy Center's Web site for more information and to buy tickets.

Washington-area native Stephanie Merry covers movies and pop culture for the Post.

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Stephanie Merry · February 15, 2013