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Top Picks | Winter Carnivals

The Very Best US Winter Carnivals


This winter, when you need to get out of the house for a little excitement, make plans to visit one of our country's winter carnivals. A winter carnival is an excellent place to experience unusual winter activities and festivities. Get ready for the ice-sculpting contests, dog sled races, sleigh rides, parades, and terrific, warm-you-up winter foods. Here are just a few winter carnivals you could visit this winter.
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Minnesota, Jan. 21-31, 2010
This carnival has 122 years of history and approximately 350,000 visitors annually. The Saint Paul Winter Carnival has ice carving and snow sculpting.  You can to see all of these unique pieces of art, only available at this one time every year. Throughout the 10 days of this carnival, you can enjoy music, parades, food, sleigh rides and many other interesting and fun winter festivities. Of course, no Minnesota celebration would be complete without a feisty game of hockey.

The McCall Winter Carnival, Idaho, Jan. 29-Feb. 7, 2010
This 10-day carnival in McCall, Idaho is a fantastic event that will add some cheer to your winter. Your whole family will love this winter carnival. Here you will enjoy local snow-sculptures and the Idaho State Snow Sculpting Championships. The kids can play on the tubing hill or participate in the Kids Snowman Building Contest. There is comedy and music for entertainment, as well as snowshoe golf and fireworks over the lake. The Mardi Gras Parade is always a big hit as well.

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, New York, Feb. 5-14, 2010
In 2010 this winter carnival will be celebrating its 113th year. Each year the carnival is opened with the crowning of the Winter Carnival's King and Queen, selected for their exemplary service to the community over the past year. Another special feature of this carnival is its ice palace, built each year and highlighted with a fireworks show over the palace. This carnival also has a lot of fun winter sporting events, including cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, inner-tubing, snowshoeing, curling, winter rugby, snowshoe softball, winter volleyball and even a frying pan toss.

Brattleboro Winter Carnival, Vermont
The Brattleboro Winter Carnival has lots of fun winter activities. You can enjoy the figure skating and watch some of the Junior Olympics events, including cross-country skiing races, downhill races and skating. Your family is sure to enjoy the shows and family activities, one of which is a petting zoo. In addition, you will find hockey, ice fishing and sleigh rides. The real highlight of this winter carnival is the sugar on snow treat.  This specialty involves clean snow drizzled with hot maple syrup, served with doughnuts and pickles.

Whitefish Winter Carnival, Montana
Whitefish, Montana is a beautiful winter destination.  Whitefish Mountain Resort has great skiing and hosts a terrific winter carnival. If you can make it to Montana for the winter festival, you will have the chance to see the Winter Carnival Royalty slope-side and watch the torchlight parade and fireworks. Even better, while you watch the events slope-side, you can enjoy hot chocolate and schnapps.

Burlington Winter Festival, Vermont, Feb. 6, 2010

The Burlington Winter Festival has all of the tried-and-true winter festival activities. You will find a snow sculpture competition, the winners of whichh get to represent Vermont at the National Snow Sculpting Competition in Wisconsin. If you are looking for a little bit of adventure, you can take the Penguin Plunge for the Special Olympics.

Wassail Weekend, Vermont
Wassail Weekend is a fabulous opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Woodstock in winter. You can see the holiday decorations, take a sleigh ride, or tour some of Woodstock's historic homes, or enjoy the music from the singers that parade the streets. The real highlight of Wassail Weekend is the Wassail Parade, featuring over 50 horses and riders in holiday dress.

Middlebury College Winter Carnival, Vermont, Feb. 19-22, 2010
The Middlebury College Winter Carnival is a student-run festival, and it is particularly unique because it is carbon neutral. This festival has a whole range of winter sporting events including Nordic and alpine skiing. The events include a bonfire and fireworks as well as broomball games and, of course, snow sculpting. If you visit this festival, you won't want to miss the ice show presented by the Middlebury Figure Skating Club.

Red Lodge Mountain Winter Carnival, Montana, Feb. 19-20, 2010
This winter carnival draws all sorts of skiers and snowboarders to the resort for the weekend. The list of events includes fireworks, a parade, and all sorts of other winter activities. Be sure to check out the Cardboard Classic race, where each participant uses only cardboard decorated by that participant.

Stowe Winter Carnival, Vermont
At the Stowe Winter Carnival you will find a wide range of amazing winter events. Perhaps you are looking for some wacky winter sports, like the Snow Volleyball Tournament. If you love ice sculpting, watch the professional ice carvers at work throughout Stowe. For an unforgettable great winter party, check out the Village Night Block Party.

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