MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The COVID–19 pandemic will not stop the St. Paul Winter Carnival in January, but the “Coolest Celebration on Earth” will be a bit different.

Carnival officials announced Wednesday that planning for the winter celebration is underway, explaining that they are making changes to events to accommodate social distancing and other health guidelines.

“We believe we’ve created a schedule of events for our 135th anniversary that our Carnival creators would be proud of and our current day fans can enjoy safely,” said Deb Schaber, the president and CEO of the St. Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation, in a statement. “The majority of our 2021 events will be held outdoors and all will abide by COVID-19 required protocols such as social distancing and mask wearing.”

Perhaps the biggest change to carnival is that the ice and snow sculpture events will be moved from downtown St. Paul’s Rice Park to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, where they’ll be part of a drive-thru experience.

Another big change involves the carnival’s cast of characters.

“Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Royal Family, Vulcans, and Klondike Kate did not have the opportunity to practice their parade wave, meet new friends in the community, or travel to other festivals,” organizers said. “So, Boreas and his court, Vulcanus Rex and his Krewe, and Kate will all reign for another year.”

Outdoor events like the Winter Run and the St. Paul Scavenger Hunt are on the schedule, although there will be a virtual option for the run. Also in the works this year is an outdoor softball tournament, a throwback to the carnival’s past.

As for entertainment, organizers are planning an traveling music series, a Family Fun Night at Keg and Case, and virtual celebration for weekend Carnival Family Days, featuring arts and crafts demonstrations, storytelling, and educational seminars — all streaming across various platforms.

The carnival is currently scheduled to run from Jan. 28 to Feb. 7. Organizers say hundreds of volunteers are needed. Those interested in helping can learn more here.

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