No parades, but a new drive-through event for 2021 St. Paul Winter Carnival

The 135th St. Paul Winter Carnival will be different from the 134 “Coolest Celebrations on Earth” that came before it, but festival organizers are moving ahead with plans for 2021 festivities, Jan. 28-Feb. 7.

Because of COVID safety precautions, the event will not feature its signature parades or have events in Rice Park because of crowd restrictions, according to a news release from the St. Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation, the producers of the Winter Carnival. But new events, including a Drive-Thru Ice and Snow Sculpture Park at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, are planned.

The drive-through combines the Ice Carving Competition, which is usually in Rice Park, and the Snow Sculpture Contest, which is held at the Fairgrounds. Passengers in cars will receive a swag bag, bingo card and the chance to purchase treats.

The 2020 Winter Carnival royalty didn’t get to attend parades and other events because of the pandemic, so King Boreas and his Royal Court, Klondike Kate and the Vulcans will all reign for another year.

The annual Winter Carnival Music Series, usually on a Rice Park stage, will be popping up outdoors at parking lots and establishments around St. Paul, according to a festival news release. The Carnival Family Days on the two Saturdays of Winter Carnival (Jan. 30 and Feb. 6) will be virtual, but Frozen Family Fun Night will take place at Keg and Case on West Seventh, with outdoor activities.

The Winter Carnival Jigsaw Puzzle Contest will take place in-person and socially distanced at Landmark Center on Jan. 30. According to the news release, 180 teams of four have already registered.

Winter Carnival Softball Tournament Games will be held outdoors on Feb. 6. And three different scaventer hunts are planned: Family Friendly Explore St. Paul Parks, St. Paul History & Landmarks, and Local Fun & Attractions.

Artist Adam Turman is designing the 2021 Winter Carnival buttons, which will go on sale and be unveiled in early December.

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