Super Bowl Edition: Ice Palace

Becky was asked by a close friend yesterday, “How crazy is it there with the Super Bowl?” She responded by telling him that everything we love to do in the cities at this time of year is on steroids. So in honor of the extraordinarily spectacular spectacle occurring around us, we thought we’d change the style of the blog for the next two weeks to truly capture the massive Super Bowl celebration.

We’re going to start with the St. Paul Winter Carnival; it’s a rite of Metro life. We have loved going every year since before we moved here. The first time we went to Winter Carnival was in January 2010. It was 2 degrees, and we went to the Vulcan Victory torchlight parade followed by fireworks in the St. Paul sky.

For those unaware, Winter Carnival usually takes place over 10 days in Rice Park, St. Paul (right outside the Landmark Center where we got married). The only time we have ever been able to go to the Vulcan Victory parade was that year, and it was so cold that Becky couldn’t even make it to the end of the parade, let alone waiting for the fireworks to begin.

Why haven’t we been back for the parade and the fireworks? Because the Vulcan Victory parade always coincides with the Luminary Loppet, so you have to choose whether you will be in Minneapolis or St. Paul that night. We have chosen the Luminary Loppet many times. But we don’t have to choose this year! The Winter Carnival is Super Bowl style. This year the Carnival will last 17 days. And so will our blog. We will cover all of the activities we partake in for the Super Bowl.

Let’s begin.

We started our Super Bowl adventure by attending the ice palace lighting on January 26. Since they began the Winter Carnival in 1885 in St. Paul, they’ve only had 36 ice palaces. It’s been 14 years since the last one. Here is the 2004 version.

2004 Ice Palace

Pictures are nice, but it’s something you need to see in person to feel the scale and weight of it. They’ve assembled 4,000 blocks in towers up to 70 feet tall. At 7 p.m., we watched from our warm romantic dinner across the street at the St. Paul Grille. The palace lit up in blues and purples surrounded by hot air balloon baskets shooting flames into the sky.

You know it’s the winter carnival because it’s freezing and there are ginormous flames shooting into the air. After we finished dinner, we wandered over to the palace. Like all things Super Bowl, it’s breathtaking. The sheer size of the blocks they used are astonishing.

One of the ice blocks even has a walleye in it! It was caught by one of the former Winter Carnival royalty and placed in an outer wall block for anyone to see. It’s at “kid height” and as of press time, he has yet to be named.

Also at Rice park there are ice bars, skating, lights, fire, parades, music, food booths, and more. Outside Rice Park, there are opportunities to see snow sculptures, disc golf, a cat show, and so on. But what is important about this is this year they have created a website that incorporates all the activities across both cities and features the Winter Carnival on it.

But the website only goes until the fourth of February, whereas on the fifth of February you have to go to the actual carnival site to see what’s happening.

We can’t possibly go to every event and see all the once-in-a-lifetime experiences. But we can try and pull together the myths and legends into one place.

Our next adventure won’t occur until Feb. 2 with our hopeful attendance in the ice maze at the Minnesota Institute of Art. The fear is we will stand in line for four hours and never get inside the maze. So the next blog might just be pictures of the line.

Until the next installment of Bacon and Ice Cream Super Bowl Edition, raise a mitten if you’re in!

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