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Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival celebration of winter began in 1886, as a way to combat negative publicity in The New York Times about the harsh weather that pummels the state each year. The Times opined that Saint Paul is "...another Siberia, unfit for human habitation in winter."

At that time, St. Paul was the fastest growing city in the U.S.

What could be a better celebration of winter than a festival that includes an ice palace, snow sculptures, and an outdoor beer festival. In 2017 we commemorated the 130th anniversary of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

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The Saint Paul Winter Carnival launches every January with a mad hunt for the Winter Carnival Medallion.

Since 1952 the medallion has been hidden in one of Saint Paul's city parks, and daily clues are offered in the Pioneer Press newspaper and online.

Hardy Minnesotans, and Minnesota visitors, bundle up, grab shovels, and mine the snow and ice for the buried treasure.

The Pioneer Press rewards the finder of the medallion with a $10,000.00 prize.

This popular winter celebration now draws about 350,000 visitors a year.

Hotels in Saint Paul fill up fast as carnival time approaches.

Much of this history is chronicled in Fire & Ice: The History of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Given the joy and participation each year, we can safely say Minnesota's reputation as a wonderful winter wonderland is safe!

Another crowd-pleasing Winter Carnival event is the ice sculpting contest. We love to grab our cameras and head to Rice Park in downtown Saint Paul to admire the work of these talented artists. The ice sculptures are breath-taking at night as the lights add to their sparkle.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Watch the Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Ice Sculptures Being Created

While ice is being sculpted in Rice park, other artists are using snow as their medium at the Minnesota State Fair grounds.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Many other events are traditions during Minnesota's annual celebration of winter. Some of these include:

  • Winter Carnival Royalty Coronations
  • King Boreas Grande Day Parade in downtown Saint Paul
  • Ice skating on the rink near Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul
  • Klondike Kate competition and Klondike Kate Cabaret
  • Winter Carnival Blues Festival in the Roy Wilkins Auditorium at the Xcel Energy Center
  • Torchlight Parade in downtown Saint Paul
  • Warm up at the hot dish tent that features Minnesota's favorite comfort food.
Saint Paul Winter Carnival

The stated purpose of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival is:

"To foster a sense of community, pride, belonging and connectedness by celebrating Saint Paul's unique history and emerging heritage through fun and educational experiences."

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