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Unveiled: Winter Carnival buttons released at holiday kickoff event

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The St. Paul Winter Carnival is over a month away, but there was plenty of excitement surrounding the annual event as the 2015 buttons were unveiled.

The buttons, which depict characters from the carnival's legend, the St. Paul skyline and the snow sculpting competition, were designed by local freelance artist and ice carving competitor Chad Peterson, the Pioneer Press reports.

Saturday's kickoff event coincided with the annual Rice Park tree lighting ceremony and the WinterSkate grand opening.

The buttons are now on sale for $5 online and at some local stores, including Cub Foods and Super America. The collectors pack, which has all four buttons, is $19.

Buttons are the biggest fundraising source for the carnival, the Star Tribune reports. They provide discounts during the carnival and can be registered online to win prizes and money during the 129th Winter Carnival, which begins Jan. 22 and runs through Feb. 1 in downtown St. Paul.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival is among the top winter festivals in the country, the Star Tribune says, with attendance averaging about 300,000 every year.

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This year's St. Paul Winter Carnival royal family will unveil the 2012 commemorative carnival buttons during a public ceremony Friday. Buttons for the 126th carnival will be for sale immediately following the event for $5 each.