The big holiday season is over, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do in Minnesota this month. Kick off 2018 with some extra fun.
Wells Fargo WinterSkate in Rice Park
Daily through Feb. 11; check the website for hours and weather cancellations
Enjoy one of winter’s most charming rituals in one of the Twin Cities’ most charming locations. Ice skate rental available for $4 on a first-come, first-served basis (free for Wells Fargo customers).
St. Paul Winter Carnival
Jan. 6-Feb. 11
Take that, you stupid New York reporters of the late 1800’s; Minnesota is not “another Siberia, unfit for human habitation in the winter.” And with that, a cherished annual festival was created. Coronations, ice-carving contests, snow-block building, snow sculptures, a lavish torchlight parade, hockey tournaments, a 5k and half-marathon, maybe even snow soccer. Don’t be a wimp. And yes, there will be an ice palace this year.
It was Icebox Days, then it was Blast on the Border, and now it’s—Icebox Days. Whatever you call it, the good people up on the Canadian border show that they have extreme stamina for the cold with this festival, including the “Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard” 5k and 10k runs, frozen turkey bowling, golf tournament, smoosh races, and moonlit snowshoe hikes in Voyageurs National Park.
Visit the North West Company Fur Post for an afternoon of snowshoeing (snowshoes are provided), playing Ojibwe snow snake, or trying your hand at curling, followed by a campfire and hot cocoa.
Jan. 20-Feb. 3
Spicer (just outside of Willmar) takes its winter festival very seriously. Two packed weeks of bonfires, pond hockey and softball tournaments, Frozen 5K, Polar Plunge, and fireworks.
Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival
The Minnesota Kite Society struts its stuff at this annual tradition on Lake Harriet. Beautiful, elaborate kites are flown, but newbies can get tips from the experts and buy inexpensive kits on the spot. Or bring your own. Or just watch the others while enjoying toasted marshmallows and ice-fishing demos.
Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza
The prizes? $150k worth, including a fish house and an ATV. The goal? The biggest fish. The best part? Proceeds go to more than 50 local charities, with this year’s primary charity the Confidence Learning Center. Oh—and no, they don’t sell beer on the ice. Just so you know. There’s also a Youth Ice Olympics that day.
Robert Burns’ Night Celebration
The Duluth Scottish Heritage Association sponsors this annual event, now in its 43rd year. Dinner, poetic revelry, traditional music and dancing. No mention of whether or not haggis is on the menu. Reservations required.
John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon
The annual running of this race commemorates, as always, the life of John Beargrease, Chippewa native who delivered mail by dog sled along the frozen North Shore in the late 1800s. It’s the longest race in the lower 48, and acts as a qualifying run for Alaska’s Iditarod. Several days of events surround the actual race, which starts on Jan. 30.
What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.