Though the pandemic has brought some changes to the 135th St. Paul Winter Carnival – the cancellations of the King Boreas Grand Day and Torchlight parades are probably the biggest – there are a few favorites still happening live, some new events and some that have gone virtual. Winter Carnival runs Jan. 28 through Feb. 7.
Information and registration and updates can be found at the Winter Carnival website: wintercarnival.com.
WHAT’S NEW AT THE ST. PAUL WINTER CARNIVAL
Drive-Thru Ice and Snow Sculpture Park at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds
The traditional ice carving competition has moved from downtown St. Paul to the Fairgrounds, where it joins the Snow Sculpture event. And people can see the icy artistry from the comfort of their vehicles. Every day during Carnival, this drive-thru offers a view of the snow sculptures and ice carvings. There will be 16 ice carvings, 17 snow sculptures, hot air balloons, special theme days and gift bags. Visitors can download an app at the entrance and play Winter Carnival Trivia, as well as vote on favorite sculptures and carvings. General admission starts at $20 per vehicle (plus fees), with tickets available at wintercarnival.com.
The Torchlight Parade, traditionally on the last Saturday night of Carnival, will be a “reverse parade” at the Drive-Thru, with many of the usual parade units along the route. This year, the parade-goers move through the parade. Visitors are asked to bring non-perishable food items to the Drive-Thru to donate to Second Harvest Heartland.
St. Paul Scavenger Hunt
Three different themed scavenger hunts will be available on the GooseChase app for smartphones: One looks at parks in the Capital City, with a family-friendly theme; one focuses on St. Paul history and notable landmarks; the third “Fun & Attractions” scavenger hunt looks at businesses, places to eat and entertainment venues. The hunts are on the app starting Jan. 28 and space is limited.
King Boreas Tour de Phalen Classic Cross Country Ski Event
It’s not a race or competition (but of course, you can always go for your personal best…). The Tour de Phalen Classic is for cross-country skiers of every level on a 7K groomed course. It starts at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 30 at the Phalen Golf Course and includes a “Minne-Tour” of 1.5K for kids.
CRAFTED: A Winter Carnival Craft Drink Experience
A drink passport program will feature specially crafted Winter Carnival drinks at breweries, artisan coffee shops, restaurants and more throughout St. Paul and the east metro from Jan. 28-Feb. 28. Participating establishments include Sencha Tea Bar, Groundswell, St. Paul Brewing, Parlour Bar St. Paul, and 7 Vines Vineyard and Winery. Each location will offer an exclusive onsite discount to passport users and a chance to win prizes.
Daily Winter Carnival History Lessons
To celebrate Winter Carnival’s 135th anniversary, organizers are providing a St. Paul Winter Carnival history lesson via social media and member newsletters. Topics include the Royal Legend, Carnival buttons, ice palaces and the Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade and overthrow of Boreas. More info on the website.
THESE WINTER CARNIVAL EVENTS ARE BACK
Fire & Ice: Winter Carnival Art Show
The fifth annual St. Paul Winter Carnival Art Show at AZ Gallery in Lowertown is running through Feb. 28 with COVID-19 restrictions. Masks are required and social distancing must be maintained in the gallery. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at AZ Gallery, 308 Prince St. It features works from a number of local artists with the theme “Fire & Ice.” A virtual tour of the show will be available on the website theazgallery.org/virtual-exhibit/fire-ice.
Ice Fishing Tournament
The St. Paul Winter Carnival’s ice fishing tournament runs through the end of Carnival on Feb. 7. Anglers can join the contest using their phone camera and the FishDonkey mobile app. Cost is $10 per angler. You can enter as many categories as you like, but win just once. There are cash prizes of $500 and $250, as well as other prizes including a new ice auger, guided fishing trips on Lake Minnetonka and the St. Croix River, and a Minnesota Wild retro jersey.
Winter Carnival Puzzle Contest
The annual jigsaw puzzle contest will still be live this year, with COVID-19 precautions in place at Landmark Center on Jan. 30. Four divisions of teams of four will compete at different times. Each session will last two hours. On Jan. 31, there will be a virtual puzzle contest. All of the contestant slots have been filled for the live competition.
Securian Financial Winter Run
This Carnival tradition moves from a downtown St. Paul route to Lake Phalen on Jan. 30, for a 5K around the lake.
Runners can also participate virtually in a 5K, 10K and half marathon.
Winter Carnival Family Day
The Family Day activities on both Saturdays of Carnival goes virtual for 2021. The schedule has entertainment, storytelling, arts and crafts and more. The content is on the Winter Carnival website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Saint Paul Hotel Hot Cocoa
The annual event at the historic downtown St. Paul Hotel is a drive-up event this year. From noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 30, drive up and get a cup of cocoa, cookies and crispy rice treats.
Klondike Kate Cabaret
The performance celebrating the Kates’ 50th anniversary will be posted on the Winter Carnival Facebook page and YouTube channel starting at 10 a.m. Jan. 31.
White Bear Lake BEAR’ly Open
Golf on the frozen surface of White Bear Lake is back from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 5 and 6. The event benefits the White Bear Lake Area Food Shelf. For info: bearlyopen.org.
Virtual Doggie Depot
The crowning of the Canine King & Queen, giveaways, virtual marketplace, interviews with pet experts and Doga (Dog Yoga) is online for 2021. For info: uniondepot.org.
THESE WINTER CARNIVAL EVENTS ARE CANCELED
- King Boreas Grand Day and Torchlight parades
- Orchid Show at the Conservatory
- Winter Carnival softball tournament
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