The 125th Winter Carnival, dubbed the Coolest Celebration on Earth, started on Thursday. For our friends from outside St Paul, the winter carnival always takes place over 10 days starting at the end of January. There are a few highlights, such as the Treasure Medallion. The carnival people hide a medallion and send out two clues a day until someone finds it. Some years we’ve looked for the medallion – this year we didn’t, which is OK because the medallion was found today in Battle Creek Regional Park, which is no where near our neck of the woods so we would have never found it anyways. [Slide show below]
There’s also a big mythology around the carnival. You can find the whole story on Wikipedia – but here’s my foggy version that has allowed me to fake it through most conversations over the years. Boreas, King of the Winds, loves and reigns over winter. Vulcanus Rex, the god of Fire, is the sworn enemy of Boreas and strives to bring on the spring. The Winter Carnival brings about the final hurrah for the Boreas folks and on the final day the Vulcans storm the ice castle and spring prevails. In the mix there’s always a bawdy Klondike Kate who sings – and the Vulcan Krewe rides around in a red bus and draws big V’s on the faces of the women in the crowd.
Every year we try to make it to at least one Winter Carnival event. Tonight we headed down to see some of the ice sculptures. Sometimes 23 degrees seems warm; tonight it didn’t. But the ice sculptures are always fun to see and I was a little bit afraid that maybe this would be the warmest day to see them. So after I had a daylong board meeting and the girls had swim practice we bundled up and headed to Rice Park to see the ice sculptures – they aren’t all done yet but we saw a bunch. If the weather is nice, maybe we’ll head out tomorrow too and can watch some of the sculptures in process or we’ll trek to the State Fairgrounds to see the snow sculpture.