This winter by all accounts has been a mild one, but from time to time I still hear comments from people grumbling about the cold, or the snow, or both. Come on people we’re Minnesotans, we’re suppose to wear our pride of our long cold winters on our sleeves like a badge of honor. Our ability to survive the cold climate is what sets up apart from the whimps who live down south. So come on folks, join me in getting up off the couch, put on your parka, and participate in our Minnesota winter. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • The St. Paul Winter Carnival

    Runs January 27th through February 5th

    Billed as the “Coolest Celebration on Earth”, the Carnival was started in 1886 and is celebrating it’s 126th year. St. Paul gets as many as 350,000 visitors for their winter celebration, who all come out to see such characters as the Vulcan Crew, Klondike Kate, and the Queen of the Snows. Some of the popular highlights include the Winter Carnival Ice Palace, the Ice Carving Competition, and the Torchlight Parade which is on Saturday, February 4th.

    St. Paul Winter Carnival
  • The Spicer WinterFest

    Runs through February 19th

    Just down the road from St. Cloud on Highway 23 you’ll find the annual Spicer WinterFest. They have plenty of opportunities for you to play in the snow, and on the ice. On January 28th they have the Green Lake Pond Hockey Tournament. And on February 4th you can join in the softball tournament in the snow, and catch the snowmobile speed radar races. Plus they have many more events too.

    Jim Maurice
  • The Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge Winterfest

    Saturday, February 4th from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

    We have a beautiful natural resource just to the south of St. Cloud, but how many of us can say we’ve actually taken advantage of it? If you’ve never been to the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, or even if you’ve been there many times, Saturday, February 4th is sure to be a special day. They have their WinterFest celebration. Go and meet live owls, enjoy their bonfire, and go snowshoeing. And best of all, the whole event is free. A perfect day retreat for the whole family.

    Tambako the Jaguar, flickr
  • The Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

    Moved from January 21st to February 11th

    Here’s a case where the mild winter has actually worked in your favor. Because of the thin ice earlier this month, one of the biggest ice fishing tournaments in the state has been postponed until next month. That’s good news for you, because it means you didn’t miss it. You can still register and participate in the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza now being held on February 11th. And be honest, don’t you want to say that just once in your life you sat on a bucket in the middle of a frozen lake with thousands of other people?

    Ice Fishing Extravaganza
  • The St. Cloud Polar Plunge

    Saturday, February 18th

    We’ve all seen the pictures and the videos of people stripping down to their swimsuits, making the walk out onto the ice, and then at the point of no return jumping through a hole in the ice into freezing temperatures. How fun! Let’s see our friends from Florida try this? The local event is coming-up, and the best part is your plunge can help raise money for local Special Olympians.

    Abby Faulkner