Hops, Hounds, and Hygge

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival may be icy, but it doesn’t disappoint

By: Sylvia Rani


The Saint Paul Winter Carnival returned to Kellogg Park for its 133rd year, bringing art, brews, and midwinter cheer to Minnesota’s beloved capital. During some of the coldest days of the century, Minnesotans both young and old bundled up to attend the many events that took place around downtown St. Paul and the state fairgrounds.



The ice carving competition in Kellogg Mall Park showcased some of the best work from local professional ice carvers. Single-block carving competitors were given a mere six hours to bring their ice to life. The sculptures were creative and immaculate—imaginative characters frozen in place. A magnificent Poseidon holding a trident while riding an intricately carved seahorse took first place.


Merely calling this year’s carnival was a canine-friendly event would be an understatement. From fun-size Boston Terriers to hefty Bernese mountain dogs, good boys and their owners from all over the state gathered to mingle. Pups enjoyed free treats while their owners guzzled discounted beers during Sunday’s “Hops and Hounds” event. And man’s best friend stole the show in more ways than one. Pooches of all sizes could enter into a competition that awarded winners in three different categories: best dressed, best trick, and owner look-alike. The Saint Paul Police Department’s therapy dog, Sergeant Fuzz, was also in attendance.


Over on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, Vulcan Snow Park provided a bounty of cold-weather activities to carnival-goers. People of all ages were seen careening down a giant snow slide that was more than 300 feet long. Other activities included snow golf in a castle, two polar plunges, and a snow sculpting contest. The park also ran a food drive for Second Harvest Heartland, a food bank that partners with local communities to end hunger. Visitors who brought in donations received a free trip down the giant snow slide. Both of the polar plunges at the snow park were also for a good cause; all donations went to support Special Olympics Minnesota. Over $28,000 was raised for Special Olympics Minnesota, and over 4,000 pounds of food were donated to Second Harvest Heartland. A testament to the generosity of the event’s attendees, 2019’s Saint Paul Winter Carnival brought together the warmest of hearts during the coldest of times.

Wake Mag