It’s the time of year when winter really starts to get to me. This is the part where I start to question my sanity for choosing to live in a place with such a cold winter. I get the Winter Blues. When the season drags on, it sometimes seems a bit depressing. I even get a little down at times because of the shorter days and less sunlight.

But I’m here to tell you, one of the redeeming things about winter in the Twin Cities has to be the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. Kicking of this Thursday the carnival features a little bit of almost any fun winter activity you can think of, plus some you may not have thought of.

One of the big draws for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, if not the biggest, is the Ice Carving Competition. Some of the finished sculptures are beautiful, elegant, and ethereal, and are not to be missed. The competition begins on Thursday in Rice Park and goes all day each day for eleven days and ends on the following Sunday. You may see abstract art, animals of various kinds, such as eagles or cats (pictured), or even representations of inanimate things like snowflakes, trees or castles.

Ggoing throughout the carnival, you’ll be able to take part in activities such as geocaching at various Saint Paul parks (all day each day), visit the Como Zoo and Conservatory (10am to 4pm), enjoy public ice skating at Landmark Center (all day each day), and visit the 125 foot History Wall in Rice Park anytime during the course of the Winter Carnival.

You’ll find snow sculptures being made, with  a competition at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Other cool stuff happening over the weekend includes speed skating (Saturday 9am to noon), the Winter Carnival Parade (2pm Saturday), an exhibition hockey game (3 to 5pm on Saturday), and a Riding Lawnmower Competition from noon to 2pm on Lake Phalen. Some of these bad boys are modified and can reach speeds of up to 75 mph!

Catch the Hot Air Balloon Liftoff at the State Capitol grounds. Also see the Boy Scouts’ Klondike Derby from 9am to 2pm at Lake Phalen or take part in Sledding Day, also 9am to 2pm at Town & Country Club, or see the MN Kite Association from 10am to 4pm, also on Lake Phalen.

Sunday is Kids’ Day at Landmark Center. Catch the Jigsaw Puzzle Contest from 11:30am to 2pm and the Ice Cube Castle Contest at 1pm in Rice Park.

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival has so much, I probably can’t even mention it all in this post. There’s a plethora of sporting events as well. There’s boot hockey, ski jumping, curling, Kids’ Ice Fishing on Lake Phalen, a Nordic Ski Race, a rugby exhibition, basketball games, wrestling matches, pool, darts…you name it. There’s even some events highlighting grown-up fun for the 21+ crowd, including the Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival in Mears Park, a Euro Dance Party, and an ice bar on Rice Park that opens on the 28th.

To see the full schedule of events and get more information, visit

Saint Paul Festival And Heritage Foundation
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 223-4700