Bundle up! Winter Carnival, 'Crashed Ice' open in St. Paul

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St. Paul officials expect the revelers who make an annual pilgrimage to downtown St. Paul to celebrate Minnesota's season of cold and ice won't bat a frosted eyelid at the deep freeze gripping the metro.

The 127-year-old grand dame of city traditions, the St. Paul Winter Carnival – along with its much younger, high-energy sibling, Crashed Ice – open Thursday.

The carnival kicks off with ice carving contests and music in Rice Park Thursday. The 11-day event, designed to celebrate winter just when Minnesotans are cursing it most, includes a variety of quirky events and characters, from the Klondike Kate cabaret to the St. Paul Vulcans.

Two high-profile events are the King Boreas Grande Day Parade, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26; and the Torchlight Parade at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.

Here's the calendar of winter carnival events.

Crashed Ice also officially opens Thursday. In short, the event draws 180 thrill seekers and daredevils who sail down a 1,300-foot ice ramp on hockey skates in a series of races. A local corporate lawyer will be among them, WCCO reports. Here's a great Pioneer Press slideshow of what it looks like.

And here's a helmet cam view:

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