Saint Paul Winter Carnival

The St Paul Winter Carnival has been a Minnesota tradition for over 130 years.
130 years.
Let that sink in.
So the story goes;
In 1885, a New York reporter wrote that Saint Paul was, “another Siberia, unfit for human habitation” in winter.
Offended, the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce decided to prove not only that Saint Paul was habitable but that its citizens were very much alive during winter by creating what we know to be, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

The castle was constructed in 1886, making it the oldest winter festival in the United States.
No kidding.

Complete with illuminated ice sculptures, live entertainment, vendor booths and an ice bar…
It gets better every year!
Speaking of, this year there was a Prince-inspired Bold North flash mob!

Check out the video here:

The Bold North Flash Mob HD 2-3-2018 from Bill Hermann on Vimeo.

There is still time to plan to experience it all yourself, the Winter Carnival is open now through February 10th in Rice Park!

Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition

If you are in need so something to do tomorrow, I highly recommend heading to the MN State Fair Grounds for the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition.

The three day competition ends tomorrow when you get to vote for your favorite sculpture in the People’s Choice Awards 11am-1pm.

Don’t forget to stick around to watch the awards ceremony at 2pm.

Come see the incredible works of art, built using only hand tools.

The finished sculptures beautifully lit after dark and can be seen through February 5th.

Cafe Astoria

Taking a cue from Explore Minnesota, Rebekah and I ventured out to Cafe Astoria in St Paul this morning. Just off Grand Avenue and West Seventh Street, the independent, locally owned coffee house is tucked away inside the historic Paulina building.As home-away-from-home as it gets, Astoria is intimate, cozy and comfortable. While they are known for their smoothie bowls, crepes, oatmeal, and homemade pastries, we came for their famous 24K gold lattes. I mean, look at those things! Rainbows, marshmallows, edible gold… Could there be anything better?! If you are looking for a fun adventure, head to Cafe Astoria.Tip: Ask about their “secret menu!”

St. Paul European Christmas Market

I have another event to add to your December traditions! The St Paul European Christmas Market is held on the East Plaza at Union Depot over the first two-weekends of December. The market was inspired by “Christkindlmarkt,” an outdoor holiday festival common across central European countries during the Advent season. Since the Middle Ages, this 500-year-old world tradition fosters European shared cultural heritage. Plan to shop for all kinds of artisan, unique, handmade holiday gifts and decorations such as Christmas ornaments, nutcracker, beeswax candles, decorative glass, wool mittens and scarves, jewelry, wooden toys, artwork, holiday decor, clothing, toys, Pop-up cards, wooden utensils, blankets, rugs, wood burned art, rolling pins, clocks, soap in felted wool wrap, steins, candles and boots. While you are there, taste European-inspired food and delicacies that include roasted nuts, sizzling sausages, cones of warm sugared almonds, hot-off-the-pan potato pancakes, Jægerschnitzel, pierogi platters, cabbage rolls, handmade spaetzle, apple fritters, chocolate-covered waffles, cheese curds and Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest Orchard freshly baked apple pastries (pictured) and caramel apples. Follow all that up with some Glühwein (spiced mulled wine), hot chocolate, apple cider or eggnog! This free, eight-day open-air event that had become so popular, now in its third year, they even had Krampus join in on the fun!