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Saint Paul Winter Carnival
For Minnesota festivals, winter is one of our primary seasons of celebration! There is no hiding from winter...we get out and play. When you plan a Minnesota vacation for this season, be sure to come for one of our festivals.
The most well-known of these festivals is the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. The carnival is promoted as "The Coolest Celebration on Earth!
Most of the events take place in and around downtown Saint Paul. Many of these events are free or are discounted with a Saint Paul Winter Carnival Button.
Here is just a partial list of the fun at the St. Paul Winter Carnival:
- Snow Sculpture and Ice Carving Competitions
- Winter Carnival Medallion Treasure Hunt
- King Boreas Grande Day Parade
- Torchlight Parade
- Klondike Kate Competition
- Winter Carnival Blues Festival
- Vulcan Coming Out Party
See some great photos and learn more about the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
Read reviews of all of the best things to see and do in any season on a Minnesota winter vacation.
Bentleyville Tour of Lights
Experience the magic of over 3 million lights illuminating Bayfront Festival Park on the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth during Bentleyville "Tour of Lights". America’s largest free walk through lighting display comes to life every evening from late November until the end of Decembe. Bentleyville will be open from 5:00-10:00 PM Fridays and Saturdays and 5:00-9:00 PM Sundays -Thursdays. Admission is free.
New displays include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys, Sesame Street, and Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Visitors will be greeted by the spectacular Bentleyville castle which stands 24 feet high and 78 feet long and the Cookie House. Visitors are welcome to complimentary hot chocolate, coffee and cookies as they stroll through the park.
A dazzling 500 foot lighted tunnel leads you to Santa, 15 fire pits for roasting marshmallows and the Polar Popcorn Hut. Everyone will be amazed at the local displays of the Aerial Lift Bridge, Tall Ships, a replicate of a thousand foot ore boat and Enger Tower.
Lights in the Park at Phalen
Drive through an amazing light display in Phalen Park on Saint Paul's east side. The charge is $10.00 per car on week ends and $8.00 per car on week nights.
John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in Duluth
The John Beargrease Sled Dog Race is run along the North Shore of Lake Superior. The race celebrates the vital role of John Beargrease in the early history of the area. John Beargrease was the son of an Anishinabe Chief. He and his brothers delivered mail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais using a variety of methods to transport the mail including dogsled, canoes, horses and large boats. Read more about this remarkable man on the John Beargrease web site below.
Some features of the race:
- One of the most prestigious sled dog races in the lower 48 States
- Mushers and spectators attend and participate from around the world.
- Rugged 390-mile race along the North Shore of Lake Superior.
- Race week events include: Cutest Puppy Contest, Opening Ceremonies and 'Meet the Mushers' at the race start.
WinterFest in Spicer
WinterFest in Spicer, Minnesota features:
- A breathtaking ice structure and slide, which is visible day and night.
- Snowmobile runs
- Ice Fishing tournaments
- Polar Plunge and Hot Tub Party
More about Winterfest
Icebox Days in International Falls
Icebox Days is International Falls annual celebration of winter This four-day fun and wacky event has something for all ages.
Some of the featured chilly events include:
- Freeze yer Gizzard Blizzard 5k & 10k Runs
- Candlelight skiing in Voyageurs National Park
- Snow sculpting
- Frozen turkey bowling
- Smoosh races
Grumpy Old Men Festival in Wabasha
Wabasha is the Minnesota town that inspired the Grumpy Old Men movie. Wabasha continues to celebrate the movie, and winter, with the Grumpy Old Men Festival.
Some of the fun includes:
- Grumpy old mens' pastime: ice fishing and an ice fishing contest
- An ice shack contest
- Frisbee games
- Softball and golf tournaments and hoop shoots
- A spaghetti dinner and dance
More about the Grumpy Old Men Festival
Ice Fishing Extravaganza Brainerd
Brainerd celebrates winter with its annual ice fishing contest. Their web site promotes this extravaganza as "The world’s largest live-release ice fishing contest."
The ice fishing contest is held on Gull Lake's Hole-in-the-Day Bay. More than $150,000 in prizes are offered.
The Brainerd Jaycees sponsor the ice fishing contest.
More about the Brainerd Ice Fishing Extravaganza
Fish House Parade in Aitken in November
The annual Fish House Parade in Aitkin is just one of many quirky events that happen every year in Minnesota.
From the Aitkin Minnesota web site:
Aitkin’s World Famous Fish House Parade will be celebrating another year in the North Country at this unusual parade of decorated fish houses The display travels though the downtown retail district so you can see it all! The parade has been shown nationally on the Comedy Central network, HGTV and A&E."
Check out the Aitken Minnesota web site
Holidazzle Parade in Minneapolis
The Holidazzle Parade in Minneapolis has become a Midwest tradition.
This yearly parade celebrates winter and Christmas. Thousands of people gather on the Nicollet Mall each evening to see the dazzling lights and festive floats. Each evening's parade features brightly lit floats, marching bands, celebrity grand marshals and 250 costumed characters from popular children's stories.
The parade is free to the public.
Dates: Thursdays through Sundays from late November - late December
Check out the Holidazzle web site
Come for the Holidazzle Parade; stay to celebrate Christmas in Minnesota
If there is a winter festival, winter carnival, or other winter activity in Minnesota that others should know about, please share it here. If you have a photo to share, all the better!
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