St. Paul Winter Carnival guide: Our picks for 2023's best events
It's that time of year again — the St. Paul Winter Carnival kicks off its 137th year on Thursday with a jam-packed schedule of new and exciting events.
Why it matters: We're Minnesotans! It can be tough to persevere through the long, dark and snowy winter, but fun seasonal activities remind us why we stick around.
Catch up fast: The carnival, which began in 1886 after East Coast reporters allegedly called Minnesota "unfit for human habitation," has become a 10-day St. Paul staple celebrating all things winter.
- It's held in collaboration with The Great Northern, an arts-focused festival that hosts panels on climate change, live performances, art installations and more from Jan. 25 to Feb. 5.
Details: The Carnival's calendar of events has something for everyone, but here's what to watch:
🤸 For the adventurous
The St. Paul Bouncing Team, an aerial acrobatics group that performs stunts year-round, is holding open tryouts to be the next "Bouncing Girl" or "puller" at Landmark Center. If you're not that flexible, spectators are welcome. Feb. 3.
🚁 For an upscale date night
New American restaurant Holman's Table is now offering dinner and a ride in a helicopter. The $250 price tag includes a 7-minute spin over St. Paul and meals for two at the restaurant. Jan. 26-28; Feb. 2-4.
❄️ Outdoor fun for all ages
The Minnesota State Fairgrounds is temporarily the Vulcan Snow Park, a kid-friendly play zone with snow mazes, giant sculptures, a kids treasure hunt and more. Jan. 27-Feb. 5.
🔎 For the explorer
Explore St. Paul by competing in one of the carnival's scavenger hunts. There are options for all skill levels, including a small hunt for kids and a 30-clue trek across the city.
- If the thrill isn’t enough of a draw, there’s a $500 grand prize for each hunt. $20 per team to sign up. Jan. 28-Feb. 6
☀️ For the classic carnival experience
The carnival's biggest events are based on its legend — King Boreas declares St. Paul his winter capital every year, until god of fire Vulcanus Rex steps in.
- The carnival's final day starts with a royal parade through downtown and ends with a dramatic fight between Boreas and Rex to bring summer back to St. Paul. Fireworks to follow. Feb. 4.
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