It took a while longer, but winter has finally made a delayed arrival by us.
It’s gotten us to more familiar and comfortable seasonal rythyms – when just about this time we get to thinking how folks in various parts celebrate the cold and snow.
For example, one of our favorite events is the St. Paul Winter Carnival.
In 1885, a New York reporter wrote that Saint Paul was, “another Siberia, unfit for human habitation” in winter. Offended by this attack on their city, the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce decided to prove not only that Saint Paul was habitable but that its citizens were very much alive during winter, their most dominant season. Thus was born the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. The first carnivals were held in 1886, ’87, ’88 and 1896. They were revived in 1916 and 1917. Beginning again in 1937, they continued through 1942, resuming on a permanent basis in 1946.
In 1886 King Boreas the First was crowned and the first Winter Carnival commenced. This festival also featured an ice palace, an elaborate creation made from the ice of Minnesota lakes, which has evolved into an internationally recognized icon for Saint Paul’s festival.
The event featured many activities including bobsledding and ice horse-racing. The former name uniquely and directly describes the activity as frozen lakes were used as race surfaces for sled-carts. The events also served to bring the community closer together including members of nearby Native American tribes. Many members of local tribes would ride into the city and pitch tents to participate in the Winter Carnival.
The Winter Carnival has grown over the years and the legend has evolved to place it in the role of a strong community organization. The Royal Family makes over 400 appearances in a given year and participates in many activities to benefit the communities around the Twin Cities Metro Area. As a community organization, the members of the Royal Family and Vulcan Krewe travel internationally throughout the US and Canada visiting different communities and engaging in various festivals. They promote community awareness and volunteerism and support many causes.