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Saint Paul Winter Carnival
late January to early February – Saint Paul, Minnesota
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is the oldest winter festival in the United States.
This festival in Minnesota, also, in fact, predates the Tournament of Roses Festival by two years.
So how did all begin?
Enthusiasts worked with the City of Montreal which had a winter carnival in place. Due to a Small Pox epidemic which suspended the 1886 Montreal Festival, Saint Paul lured Alexander Hutchinson, the designer of Montreal’s ice palaces in 1883, 1884, and 1885 to blueprint Saint Paul’s first ice castle. The castle was constructed on February 1st, 1886 at a cost of $5,210 with a height of 106 feet. A comparison to this first castle is the Pepsi Palace of 1992 with a cost of $1,900,000 and a height of 165 feet (a Guinness record).
As with the concept of the Montreal Festival, the legend and other activities were also adapted.
The Ice King became King Boreas who was accompanied by Queen Aurora. The characters in turn became King Boreas and the Queen of the Snows.
The mischievous Vulcan and his red-caped Krewe were created from the Germanic tradition of the energy and disruption which springtime brings to the final days of winter in the traditional lore.
The legend itself was initially written down by newspaper columnist Fran Madden in 1937 and has been updated and revised ever since.
Today King Boreas and the Queen of the Snows rule over approximately 21 members of the Royal Family including Boreas’s four brothers Titan, Euros, Zephyrus and Notos along with their four princesses, the Prime Minister and up to ten Royal Guards. To end the Winter Carnival festival is the dethroning of Boreas by the Vulcan Krewe.
The Royal Family and Vulcan Krewe are made up of volunteers that make over 400 appearances during the year to festivals (local and national), nursing homes, schools and hospitals on behalf of the Winter Carnival and the City of Saint Paul.
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is produced by the Saint Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation and is funded by private donations and corporate contributions. The Board of Directors, supported by hundreds of corporate and individual members, employs a full time staff to help plan this community celebration.
For more information visit the Saint Paul Winter Carnival web site at http://www.winter-carnival.com/
For other events in Minnesota visit:
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