Saint Paul Winter Carnival

The annual St. Paul Winter Carnival begins this week! It is the time of year again to dress warm and enjoy the winter wonder Minnesota has to offer.

Thursday, the festivities begin early with the royal coronation and reception, as well as an ice carving competition. A snow sculpture competition and Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade are highlights of Fridays events. The parade is a new attraction inviting guests to wander up John Ireland Boulevard to the State Capitol. Other events throughout the carnival include hot-air balloon liftoffs, rugby and lacrosse exhibitions, a snowy baseball game, beer dabbler sampling, and the "St. Paul Winter Carnival Has Talent" contest.

Though the Carnival was originally first-held to celebrate the success of railroad expansion in the city, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival also has its beginnings in an insult. According to legend, a New York reporter wrote in 1885 that Saint Paul MN was "another Siberia, unfit for human habitation in the winter." Offended by this, the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce decided to prove that the fast-growing City of St. Paul was a habitable, even lively place during the winter.

The first Saint Paul Winter Carnival was then held a year later in 1886. Patterned after Montreal’s Winter Carnival, the first Saint Paul Winter Carnival included parades, skiing, snow shoeing, and tobogganing. Additionally, the first ice palace was a big attraction.

The infamous Winter Carnival Treasure Hunt didn't begin until 1952. Each year, the Saint Paul Pioneer Press prints 12 clues on 12 consecutive days. These clues point to a local park, where participants race to find the gold medallion. The finders of the medallion are awarded up to $10,000 and receive a place of honor riding in the closing Torchlight Parade. As of this writing, it is Day 4, so 4 clues have already been offered. Think you're up to the Treasure Hunt challenge?

The carnival runs through January 31 at various times and locations. Go to for more information.

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