Cold (some might call it frigid) weather is no reason to sit inside if you’re a Minnesotan. These hearty northern folk celebrate the season with tons of winter festivals. From film-focused fests to beer-inspired soirees, winter fairs allow people to stay active during frosty months (i.e. November through March in Minnesota).
40th Annual Icebox Days
January 16 – 19, 2020
International Falls, MN
This wacky winter festival is an annual celebration staged in what the world knows as the “Icebox of the Nation,” and it has been covered by CBS, NBC and ABC networks. Enjoy frozen turkey bowling, the locally invented “smoosh” races, moonlight skiing in Voyageurs National Park, the infamous “Gizzard” runs and much more!
January 17 – February 9, 2020
The Spicer WinterFest starts with an opening ceremony and fireworks, then continues for four action-packed weekends. There will be a Frozen 5K run, WinterFest Kids Carnival, horse and buggy rides, the 16th annual Polar Plunge (which benefits the Special Olympics), ice-fishing tournaments and the infamous medallion-hunting competition.
134th Saint Paul Winter Carnival
January 23 – February 2, 2020
Saint Paul, MN
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival has been entertaining Minnesotans since 1886! Explore the ever-sparkly ice sculpture garden in Rice Park and dance the night away at 70s Disco Night. This wintertide week-long event features a Cinco de Mayo Happy Hour, parades, and fun interactive activities for all ages to enjoy. Plus, most events are FREE.
February 2, 2020
Held each year on the first Saturday of February on Lake Ann, the February Festival is home to the ever-popular ice fishing contest, with over 1,000 fishing holes drilled in the ice! Other winter activities include a medallion hunt throughout the week, ice skating, a s'mores cookout, sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and dog sled rides.
February 28-29, 2020
Did you know Grumpy Old Men was filmed in Wabasha, Minnesota? This town takes that legacy very seriously. The Grumpy Old Men Festival celebrates the movie with an ice fishing contest, a poker tournament, a movie showing, and the Grumpy Plunge, where participants can be found dressed up as Grumpy Old Men characters as they plunge into icy cold water
February 21 – 23, 2020
The fun-filled weekend begins with the annual Frozen Flop, which raises money for local charities, followed by an ice bar, food and live music. Snow Golf is available on Saturday for guests to play nine holes at nine different locations around Gull Lake. Sample local flavors with Sunday’s Food Fest to finish the weekend.
March 7, 2020
New Ulm, MN
This German-inspired, 21-and-over event seeks to keep you warm with ice-cold beer. Hosted at the historic Schell’s Brewery, savor beer, brats, live music, bonfires, and some post-festival bar hopping downtown, if you’re in the mood! But note that there is an entrance fee of $10 and ID is required.