Winter just wouldn’t be winter if there wasn’t a St. Paul Winter Carnival. What is the Winter Carnival you ask? The St Paul Winter Carnival is the oldest winter carnival in the US, even beating out the Tournament of Roses Festival by two years. Started in 1886 after a few reporters from the East Coast visited St Paul, the Winter Carnival was a response to their report that Minnesota might as well be Siberia and uninhabitable. A group of St Paul business owners decided to fight back and show the East Coast the beauty of a Minnesota winter by creating a festival. They were able to recruit help from Montreal, who already had a winter festival, and a tradition was born. (Okay that was the Cliff Notes version but you can read all about it right here.)
The 133rd St. Paul Winter Carnival Jan. 24th through Feb. 3rd
The 133rd Winter Carnival runs from Thursday, January 24th – Sunday, February 3rd. It is located at Kellogg Mall Park in St. Paul, overlooking the river. Enjoy beautiful ice sculptures, free live music, parades and more. The Vulcan Snow Park is also park of the Carnival, located at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Enjoy a giant snow slide, a snow castle complete with mini-golf and snow sculptures aplenty.
Winter Carnival 2019 Events
Most of the events at the St Paul Winter Carnival are family friendly, but some specific family oriented events include:
Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade (Thursday, Jan. 24, 6:00pm)
The Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade kicks off the Winter Carnival and everyone is welcome to walk in the parade. The parade starts at the Landmark Center and ends at Kellogg Mall Park. There is a new KIDS decorating contest this year. Dress up yourself, your stroller, your wagon etc. for a chance to win prizes; you must be at the Landmark Center by 5:30pm to be eligible for a prize. Be creative!!
For more details visit here.
photo courtesy of St. Paul Winter Carnival
King Boreas Grand Day Parade (Saturday, Jan. 26, 2:00pm)
The King Boreas Grand Day Parade presented by Arctic® Apples is the daytime procession down West 7th Street featuring dozens of bands, floats and, of course, the newly crowned King Boreas and his Royal Family with celebrity Grand Marshal Joe Mauer, a St Paul native and retired Minnesota Twins catcher.
Kids Day (Saturday, Jan. 26, 2:00pm – 6:00pm)
The St Paul YMCA has put together some really awesome interactive games and experiences for the kids to enjoy during Kids Day at the Landmark Center. Click here for all of the details.
Frozen Family Fun Night (Tuesday, Jan. 29, 5:00pm – 8:00pm)
The entire family is invited to the Landmark Center to participate in fun activities like crafts, ice skating shows, and Disney Princesses! Click here for the details.
Family Day (Saturday, Feb. 2, 11:00am – 5:00pm)
This event is presented by ECOLAB, Saint Paul Family Day is the perfect day to bring your family down to the Winter Carnival! Enjoy live entertainment and family-friendly activities throughout the Landmark Center. Click here for more details.
Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade (Saturday, Feb. 2, 5:30pm – 7:30pm)
Vulcanus Rex will use his wily ways to light up the streets of downtown Saint Paul for the Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade, marking the Vulcans march to overthrow King Boreas and bring summer back to the city of Saint Paul. After the parade, follow Vulcanus and his Krewe to the steps of the Saint Paul Library across from Rice Park for the ever-dramatic overthrow, where they will attempt to regain control of the capital in a lively display that will end with a bang!
The parade starts at 5th and Wacouta and ends at Rice Park. For parade route details and other information click here.
Do I need to buy tickets to the St. Paul Winter Carnival?
Most of the activities during the St. Paul Winter Carnival are either free or low-cost. If you do have to purchase a ticket it will be very clearly marked. Specific events such as Kids Day, Family Day, the Snowpark at the Fair and the outside activities (ice carvings, live entertainment, ice bar and ice throne) in Kellogg Mall Park are free.
Where should I park if I want to go to the St. Paul Winter Carnival?
Park wherever you can find a spot! No, just kidding but there are limited on-street parking spaces so if you find one scoop it up. There are also parking garages where you’ll pay between $10 – $20. You can also look into public transportation. Specifically you can use the Green Line light rail which will take you within a block or two to Kellogg Mall Park where many of the activities are held.
How do you dress for the St. Paul Winter Carnival?
I would dress in layers. Wear boots for walking around and looking at the ice sculptures or the snow sculptures at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. You can go into the Landmark Center and look at the memorabilia display so you’ll want to be able to shed some layers for that.
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