We are in the midst of the coolest celebration on earth – the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. One of my favorite events to attend is the snow sculptures. Teams work for hours taking a huge block of compacted snow and cutting and carving and sculpting it into a work of art. In years past I’ve only seen the sculptures after they were completed, but this year I decided to take in the actual carving. I found some teams with elaborate hand drawn sketches and plans for their sculpture, and other teams that had small dolls or toys that they were using for their design. The tools, measurements, and time that go into these works of art is amazing. The temperatures have been warmer than usual which created some challenges for the sculpting but the end results are always amazing.
After a week of gloomy, dreary skies a beautiful blue appeared today to help Saint Paul celebrate it’s Winter Carnival. With temps in the 20’s, hundreds of people were dressed warmly, soaking up the Vitamin D, and enjoying the snow sculptures that were completed for the carnival. Perhaps because we’re all longing for warmer climates, this sculpture titled “Under A Rest,” received the Peoples Choice Award. Complete with cacti and little gophers popping up from the ground, the cowboy seemed quite content to take a long winter’s nap in his frozen state.
In the midst of a quick January thaw, the St. Paul Winter Carnival began this past week. Temperatures of 40+ degrees do not equate to an expected Minnesota winter. Both snow and ice were melting and people were shedding multiple layers. But an Alberta Clipper brought a return to temps below freezing last night. The snow sculptures at the fairgrounds were all intact today, and the blue sky and sunshine brought people out to participate in winter play. A snow slide had a long line of people, both children and adults, waiting to take a run; the snow maze was the right size for a child to get confused but the adults towered over it; and a simple large mound of snow was a wonderful temptation for kids to scramble and climb up. This snow sculpture was titled “Baby Bunyan,” with a reference to Paul Bunyan as a child. Our celebration of winter will continue for the next few months, until we are able to relish in the short season of spring and melting snow.
This week was the beginning the St. Paul Winter Carnival, a true celebration of all things having to do with winter. And this year the weather has cooperated in fine fashion (some might even say it’s been a bit too cold). In past years some of the events have had to be cancelled or shortened because of warming temperatures, but that isn’t an issue for us now. The snow sculptures were being carved yesterday as I wandered around the Minnesota Fairgrounds. This huge sculpture was especially popular for photographs, with the St. Paul Winter Carnival emblem in the center, surrounded by all sorts of cold-weather creatures and beasts. There were even some “tools of the trade” – chests of saws and chisels – that were still being used for touch up. The celebration continues through next weekend (although I truly believe winter will be lasting much longer than that!).
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is in full swing this weekend. This is the time when we celebrate (and embrace) the cold weather. There are events ranging from parades to ice carving to snow sculpting to hockey games to outdoor beer gardens to Red Bull Crashed Ice and a sleigh and cutter rally too. Although we’ve had some serious cold weather this past week our snowfall has been minimal. But there was enough for the sleighs and horses to be out today. With temperatures right around freezing and a light snow coming down it seemed like I had been transported to a different era. Many of the drivers were dressed in period clothing to match their sleighs or wagons, and the horses seemed to enjoy the open space and the snow as they trotted along. There were one and two-horse sleighs, and a few sleighs pulled by ponies whose feet had to work overtime to cover the same distance as the horses. This driver and his matched team seemed to be reveling in the event and the weather. The image made me think that they had been out for a drive and were now headed back to the comfort and warmth of their respective home and barn.