By Edgar Linares, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — The 125th annual St. Paul Winter Carnival kicked off Thursday morning with the sounding of a horn.

“It’s one the oldest festivals in the nation,” said Molly Steinke, Winter Carnival Spokeswoman.

Since 9 o’clock Thursday morning, ice sculptures have been working in Rice Park using chainsaws and ice carving tools. Six teams have 48 hours to create a one-of-a-kind icy masterpiece. The grand prize is $3,000.

They’re using 20 blocks of ice weighing a total of 3 tons.

Terry Reis, 53, has participated for the last 28 years and now lives in Iowa.

“I actually started ice carving in hotels for buffets. That’s how I got involved in this,” said Reis. “It’s art. The bad thing is it melts after a while.”

He said he comes back every year because it reminds him of his childhood.

Organizers call the carnival the “coolest celebration on earth.”

“Rice Park will be sparkling,” said Steinke. “We have an ice bar where we’ll be serving Winter Ice by Cannon River Winery. We have a merchandize mart and a musical stage. We’ll have entertainment everyday throughout the carnival.”

The carnival has more than 125 events and Thursday night they’ll have their royal coronation. That’s when they crown the 2011 royal family.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival will continue through Feb. 6.


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