Edit ModuleShow Tags

St. Paul's Coolest Celebration: The Winter Carnival


One of my favorite winter childhood memories is of visiting the Saint Paul Winter Carnival’s Ice Palaces (my first one in 1986)—I think we still have a certificate for an ice block. I took my “little” from Big Brothers Big Sisters to the last Ice Palace in 2004 and it was still amazing. Even when the Winter Carnival doesn’t have an Ice Palace, it’s the best way to kick the winter blues in January.

The 126th Winter Carnival kicks off this Thursday (Jan. 26-Feb. 5). The legend that marks the carnival is that of bitter enemies King Boreas, who rules the winds, and Vulcanus Rex, the god of fire. While Boreas celebrates winter with a carnival and is joined by the Queen of Snows as well as Klondike Kate, a lady of song and merriment, Vulcanus Rex and his Krewe storm in to put an end to the celebration (read the entire legend). You can see this excitement unfold during the carnival each year.

The Winter Carnival schedule this year includes a variety of (mostly free) events. View two historic exhibits (Memories on Ice: The History of the Carnival Wall and a display of past Ice Palaces), go ice skating at Wells Fargo Winterskate by Landmark Center, listen to live music in Rice Park (Thurs.-Sat. at noon), check out the orchid show (Jan. 28 & 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Marjorie McNeely Conservatory), cheer on the coronation of Winter Carnival royalty, and so much more.

My favorite part is the ice carving competition. There’s always such variety, from large impressive sculptures to smaller detailed sculptures. Last year’s winner, Trevor Pearson, spoke with us about his exciting back-to-back wins in the January issue.

Winter Carnival 2011 Winter Carnival 2011

ice sculptures at winter carnival 2011 photos by ellie m. bayrd

Another popular event is the third annual Beer Dabbler, held this Saturday (from 4-8 p.m., must be 21 or older to enter, $30 advance tickets, $40 at door). Taste a variety of craft and micro brews over at the Saint Paul Farmers’ Market grounds.

To kick things off in true Winter Carnival fashion this Saturday, the royal family will host the second annual Rock the Palace, a party and dance to welcome guests to this winter wonderland (7 p.m.-midnight, $15, at Crowne Plaza Riverfront). Enjoy live music from Bad Girlfriends and 8 foot 4. The carnival concludes with fireworks and the Vulcan takeover on Feb. 4.

Will you be there?

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks

Weekend Activities to Satisfy Your Inner-Child

Check out these weekend activities that will have you feeling like a kid again.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: April

Sue Z.'s picks for philanthropic food events in April will have you supporting women chefs, sipping crafty cocktails, and celebrating Cookie Cart's 30th birthday

A Day Trip to Waconia

Enjoy great views, dining, and craft beverage destinations in this West Metro lakeside town

11 Easter Egg Hunts: From Flashlights to Geocaching

Yes, there's an annual adults-only Easter egg hunt in Rochester—and another for dogs, and another with geocaching, and another that drops them out of the sky. Check out more of the best egg hunts around Minnesota.

Rock Climbing in Minnesota

Rock on this spring at climbing gyms and favorite outdoor spots around Minnesota

5 Natural Wonders in Minnesota

Mother Nature takes the best selfies

Bad Axe Throwing Opens Minneapolis Location

Axe throwing makes its debut in Northeast Minneapolis—and it's not as dangerous as it sounds

Visit Award-Winning Minnesota Distilleries

Tattersall Distilling, J. Carver Distillery, and RockFilter Distillery are all worth the trip

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: March

Sue Z. picks Cochon555 as her philanthropic food event this month

5 Must-See Minnesota Public Gardens

Visiting these botanical wonders are sure to make your daisy
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags