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    Posted February 19, 2013 by
    St. Paul, Minnesota

    Renaissant and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: New Year's 2012
    More from Renaissant

    Minnesotans defy stereotypes of a "Siberian" and "uninhabitable" climate

    There are many attractions within the Twin Cities around New Year’s Eve, ranging from nightclub celebrations to firework displays out on the slopes. Many (if not all of these) are perhaps done in an attempt to fight the Minnesotan stereotype of what a New York reporter once called “another Siberia, unfit for human habitation in the winter.” One of Minnesota’s longest standing traditions has been the St. Paul Winter Carnival.
    Begun in 1886, the St. Paul Winter Carnival has attracted approximately 350,000 visitors annually and generates an estimated $3.5 to $5 million in economic activity. Self-described as being meant to celebrate the history and heritage of St. Paul through educational games and experiences, the Carnival “[calls] upon the community for support…[creating] a sense of pride, belonging, and connectedness for fellow Saint Paulites and Minnesotans.”
    The activities of the St. Paul Winter Carnival have morphed from a blanket tossing contest and a game called “Push Ball” into ice carving displays and events such as the NHL All Star Game that was held in the 2004 Ice Palace. One of the most recent attractions was the 2013 Red Bull Crashed Ice event, in which St. Paul played host to the International Ice Cross Downhill World Championship.
    The St. Paul Winter Carnival also boasts an educational aspect as well. Educational events are sponsored by the Carnival throughout the year. An hour-long educational activity at the Science Museum of Minnesota is split into a half-hour exhibition on fire and ice and a half hour exhibition about the historical legend of the St. Paul Winter Carnival. The Carnival also hosts an Excel Energy Green Day, teaching visitors about how to conserve energy and “go green” in their own lives.
    A relatively new tradition at the St. Paul Winter Carnival has been the Annual Juried Art Show of local Minnesotan artists, started back in the winter of 2008, hosted at the Black Dog Café. Other long-standing traditions that have been popular among carnival goers include the Medallion hunt, the annual exhibition of the Ice Carvings in Rice Park and the three different parades, one of which is done by torchlight and presented by the Metropolitan State University.
    The Carnival hosts a plethora of events, from Martial Arts exhibitions to local musicians, to show choirs and brass bands. All showcase a different aspect of Minnesota in some form, and all serve to defy the image of an uninhabitable “Siberian” Minnesota by drawing Minnesotans together during the most dominating season of the year.
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