There’s no sugar coating it—this winter has been a rough one. Between below zero temperatures and piles of snow, I think we could all use a bright side to look on. Well, here it is: the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, the coolest celebration on earth only possible during the coldest time of the year. The festivities will start Thursday and last through Feb. 2—here are some of the signature events to look for, but make sure to check out the full list so you don’t miss out on any of the fun.
Securian Winter Run (Jan. 25, 9 a.m.): Bundle up in your thermal best for a half marathon, 5K or 10K that starts downtown and then takes you on a scenic tour of the city’s neighborhoods. The top males and females in each respective age group are awarded.
Beer Dabbler (Jan. 25, 3:30-7:30 p.m.): Sample craft beer from more than 150 local, regional and national breweries, including Leinenkugel’s, Stella Artois, Goose Island, Surly, and Summit at the state’s largest outdoor beer festival. There will also be live music and food trucks and carts.
Parades: The carnival kicks off with the Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade (Jan. 23, 6 p.m.) and all ages are welcome to join—just bring a glow stick, luminary or other device to help light the way. At the King Boreas Grande Day Parade (Jan. 25, 2 p.m.) the newly crowned king will lead his royal family and friends along with dozens of marching bands and floats down West Seventh Street to Rice Park. The final Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade (Feb. 1, 5:30 p.m.) concludes with a fireworks show.
Rice Park: Once again, the park is the center stage of the festival. Ice carving competitions start Jan. 23, with the multi-block competition taking place Jan. 23-25 and the timed individual block challenge on Jan. 26. Here you’ll also be able to hear music and grab a drink at the ice bar from Summit Brewing Company and Cannon River Winery.
Snow Park at the Fair (Jan. 26, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.): At the Minnesota State Fairgrounds you’ll find fire truck rides, a medallion hunt, games for kids and a 15-foot snow slide. There will also be a snow sculpting competition, the winners of which will head on to nationals.