The 137th Saint Paul Winter Carnival will feature a new Light Up the Park event, lip sync contest, Rondo Night and first-ever presenting sponsor (Priority Courier Experts) when it returns for its frosty 11-day run on January 26-February 5.

Lisa Jacobson of the Saint Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation is excited about putting on a bigger carnival in 2023. “This year, we are intentionally creating events that welcome all communities,” she said. “We’re working with a variety of new partners, including event organizers from the Rondo neighborhood, to produce a carnival that all people can enjoy.”

What’s new this year?

The carnival will kick off with Light Up the Park from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, January 26, in Rice Park. Join the Royal Family, Vulcans, Klondike Kates and others for a laser light show. The first 200 people to arrive will receive glow wands.

Afterward, watch the ice carving teams start their masterpieces and check out the Vocal Interpretations lip sync contest preliminaries from 7-9 p.m. in the Landmark Plaza warming house. The finals will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Sunday, January 29, in Rice Park. The contest is for those age 21 and older. The $15 entry fee will benefit the festival.

Also new this year is a chance to warm up on Saturdays, January 28 and February 4, at the Latimer Library, 90 W. Fourth St. There will be a carnival slide show from 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. both days and a storytime from 11 a.m.-noon on January 28. Hot cocoa and cider will be served.

Rondo Night will be celebrated from 5-9:30 p.m. Thursday, February 2, in Landmark Center. The evening will include live performances, minority artisans and organizations, food from Taste of Rondo and surprise guests.

Some old favorites return

Rice Park will serve as the central location for many carnival festivities, including the ice carving competitions on January 26-29, live music, food and merchandise vendors, ice bars, and the culmination of the Grande Day and Torchlight parades.

 

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The State Fairgrounds will be home to the Vulcan Snow Park from January 27-February 5. It will feature a snow maze, visits by the Vulcans, and the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition.

Historian Marilyn DiMartino’s Winter Carnival Memorabilia Display will be open seven days during the carnival in Landmark Center’s North Gallery. Scavenger hunts will be held throughout the Capitol City via the Goosechase app, with a small fee to support the festival. CynCity Tours will serve up gangsters, haunts and history with its downtown walking tours.

The Winter Carnival Orchid Show will be held at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in Como Park from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, January 28-29 ($4-$5), while the Saintly City Cat Show will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday that same weekend at Saint Paul RiverCentre ($7-$10).

winter carnival
Poignant Penguin Posse Pals, which took first in the small block competition in 2020.

Other highlights of the 2023 Winter Carnival include the following:

Friday, January 27

—Royal Coronation of King Boreas and Aurora, Queen of the Snows, at Saint Paul RiverCentre. The ticketed event will begin with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and coronation at 8 p.m. 

Saturday, January 28

—The Jigsaw Puzzle Competition featuring four divisions from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in Landmark Center.

—King Boreas Grande Day Parade stepping out at 2 p.m. near Smith Avenue and following West Seventh Street to Rice Park.

—Klondike Kate Cabaret at 7 p.m. at KJ’s Hideaway, 408 Saint Peter Street ($10-$25), followed by the Royal Guards’ Rock the Palace at 9 p.m. at the Saint Paul Hotel, 350 N. Market St. ($10-$15).

Sunday, January 29

—Fire & Ice Winter Run/Walk with starting times from 8-11 a.m. at the State Fairgrounds. Events include a Kid’s Run, 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K and NoK (pay to not run).

—“Freeze Your Bags Off” bean bag tournament from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Rice Park ($50 per team).

—Saint Paul Civic Symphony free concert of “Hot and Cool Classics” from 2-3 p.m. in Landmark Center.

—Virtual Minecraft Ice Palace Build Competition from 2-5 p.m. featuring carnival historian Bob Olsen and the Victoria Theater Arts Center ($5).

—Vulcans vs. Royal Guards Hockey Classic from 5:30-7:30 at the Doug Woog Arena, 141 S. Sixth St., South Saint Paul. Admission is free, but donations and nonperishable food will be collected.

Monday, January 30

—Purse Bingo from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Landmark Plaza Warming House. There will be food and beverages available for purchase. Children may play if they are with a parent or guardian.

Tuesday, January 31

—Frozen Family Fun Night from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Landmark Plaza Warming House, with characters from Frozen and the carnival, a story time, singalong, snow activities with Junior Royalty and gift bags.

Friday, February 3

—Day of Good at Landmark Center. Join the Royal Family, Vulcans, Kates and Royal Guard for a day filled with volunteer opportunities, such as donating blood, nonperishable food and new or gently used mittens and hats.

—Klondike Kate Arctic Sizzle from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the Camp Bar, 490 N. Robert St. ($35).

—Saint Paul Bouncing Team tryouts from 6-9 p.m. in Landmark Center.

Saturday, February 4

—Union Depot’s Doggie Depot from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Union Depot, 214 E. Fourth St., featuring the crowning of the Canine King & Queen, giveaways and adoption opportunities.

—Kids and Family Day from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Landmark Center, with exercise, performances, and arts and crafts. 

—Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade starting at 5:30 p.m. from West Seventh Street to Rice Park. The Overthrow of Boreas on the library steps and fireworks will follow around 7 p.m.

—Vulcan Victory Dance from 7:30-11:30 p.m. at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront Hotel, 11 E. Kellogg Blvd. ( $25-$30).

For the most current information, visit wintercarnival.com.

Landmark Center
Landmark Center will once again be a hub of activity during the 2023 Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

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