Minnesota doesn’t take a break from the festivities even in the dead of winter and, in fact, some of the most enjoyable and entertaining events take place in January. Locals have learned to celebrate the snow and ice they must endure, but come spring, they throw off their parkas and head outdoors for music, beer, dance, art, and just about any other reason they can think of.
The nippy town of International Falls does its best to make winter more bearable with a popular and cheery five-day festival every January. Minnesotans celebrate the cold that keeps them bundled up with fun events like frozen turkey bowling, smoosh races and snow sculpture competitions.
St Paul Winter Carnival
Dating back to 1886, St Paul’s Winter Carnival is one of the highlights of the long cold season. The highlight is the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Championship, a big deal for many in this state. Starting with the crowning of the king and queen, a series of interesting and free events carries the party along for several days in January until the final candlelight parade through downtown St Paul.
Festival of Nations
America’s largest multicultural gathering takes place each May in Minneapolis-St Paul. For four bustling days, nearly 100 different ethnic groups converge on the city to share their food, music, folklore, and crafts. It all happens at the Saint Paul RiverCenter, with the highlight the international dance performances.
St Paul Beer Festival
You better believe there’s some tasty craft beer being brewed in Minnesota to help everyone stay warm during the cold winter months. In June, around 50 breweries and thousands of patrons converge on St Paul’s Midway Stadium to sample the best the region has to offer. Once inside, the beer samples are free and unlimited. Live music, food and other events round off this very popular summer festival.
Minnesota was born on the back of the timber industry, so lumberjacks were some of first people to live in the state. Every July the small historic town of Stillwater celebrates its distinction as one of Minnesota’s first lumber towns with four days of fun. The free festival is held at Lowell Park next to the river and downtown. Competitions include tree chopping running races, kid’s activities, music, and a massive fireworks display.
Minnesota Fringe Festival
Proving that the Twin Cities are indeed an artistic hotbed, the annual Fringe Festival in August brings some of the most creative and eclectic dance and music to stages all over the capitol. The event runs for 11 days with each performance under 60 minutes. This outpouring of originality carries over into special gallery exhibits, concerts and festivities in the city’s bars and clubs.