St Paul Winter Carnival is Celebrating over 132 Years!
The Coolest Celebration on Earth
In 1885 a New York reporter wrote that Saint Paul was "another Siberia, unfit for human habitation" in winter. Offended by this attack on their Capital City, the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce decided to not only prove that Saint Paul was habitable but that its citizens were very much alive during winter, the most dominant season. Thus was born the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
The 1887 Ice Palace
In 1886 King Boreas the first was crowned and the first Winter Carnival commenced. This festival also featured an ice castle, an elaborate creation made from the ice of Minnesota lakes, which has evolved into an internationally recognized icon for Saint Paul's festival.
The event featured many activities like bobsledding and ice horse racing. The former name uniquely and directly describes the activity as frozen lakes were used as race surfaces for sled-carts. The events also served to bring the community closer together including members of nearby Native American tribes. Many members of local tribes would ride into the city and pitch tents to participate in the Winter Carnival.
Man examines a Winter Carnival ice sculpture.
The Winter Carnival has grown over the years and the legend has evolved to place it in the role of a strong community organization. The Royal Family makes over 400 appearances in a given year and participates in many activities to benefit the communities around the Twin Cities Metro Area. As a community organization, the members of the Royal Family and Vulcan Krewe travel internationally throughout the US and Canada visiting different communities and engaging in various festivals. They promote community awareness and volunteerism and support many causes.
The kid fest Winter Carnival is held during January each year. The only years it was not held were during World War II out of respect for the conflict abroad. Currently the Winter Carnival runs the following events as part of the celebration:
Grand Day Parade
Campbell's Kids Day
Ice Sculpture Carving
Klondike Kate Cabarets
Historic Art Exhibit
Tooth Fairies ice sculpture. (2008)
The Royal Family is selected through each characters fraternal organization, and in the case of the Queen and Princesses, a pageant-style coronation. The Royal Family consists of:
Aurora, Queen of the Snows
Captain of the King's Guard
Sergeant of the King's Guard
Titan, Prince of the North Wind
North Wind Princess
Euros, Prince of the East Wind
East Wind Princess
Zephyrus, Prince of the West Wind
West Wind Princess
Notos, Prince of the South Wind
South Wind Princess
A minimum of 4 King's Guards; one each assigned to guard the 4 princesses.
The Vulcan Krewe is selected by the Order of Fire and Brimstone along with the new Fire King, Vulcanus Rex, each year. Each year a new Krewe is hand selected through an application and interview process. Selected Krewe members must complete a 5 year commitment to become a full fledged member of Fire and Brimstone. After a member's fifth year, that individual is then eligible to be a Fire King.
The Vulcan Krewe consists of
Vulcanus Rex (The Vulc) - The True King of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. Of the members of the Krewe, he is the only one to wear black (all others wear red).
General Flameous (Flame) - Keeper of the flame. Legend says that if the flame dies, the Fire King dies and it will be winter forever.
The Duke of Klinker (Klink) - The Fire King's aide-de-camp and the herder of the flock. Without a Klinker there wouldn't be a Flame.
Count of Ashes (Ash) - The raiser of sleeping spirits. The "Swinger" of the Krewe.
Prince of Soot (Sooty) - The recorder of past memories. The "ladies" man. Usually the oldest member of the Krewe.
Baron Hot Sparkus (Sparky) - Commander of the Lancer’s Legion and the Stoker of Emotions. The "spark plug" of the Vulcan Krewe.
Count Embrious (EB) - Fire King’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. The young and romantic one. Usually the youngest member of the Krewe.
Grand Duke Fertilious (Ferty) - Minister of Propaganda and the propagator of progeny. Usually the member with the most children.
THE FIRE KING RUNNING SUIT, THE UNIFORM In the early Carnivals, when the Fire King ran alone, he wore typically kingly attire crown and all, with heavy emphasis on the color red in the rest of the costume. In 1916, Ron Stewart, Vulcanus Rex I, wore a warm blanket coat with a wide sash and a headpiece with devil-type horns on it. This attire continued through 1939. Again, in 1940, Vulcanus Rex VI, E.R. Reiff, designed the basic running suit worn today. The horns were replaced by two feathers at the back of the head with a central fin running across the top of the head from front to back. In 1959 the feathers disappeared by order of Vulcanus Rex XXII, John Works. There are six primary pieces to the current running suit: the hat, the running suit, the cape, boots, gloves, goggles, and of course grease.
The Knighting Ceremony
These ceremonies have been around for almost sixty years. Every year, the Fire King knights literally hundreds of lucky individuals. Special people are singled out by the King and his Krewe to bestow this unique privilege on. A knighting certificate consists of a "title" being bestowed, and a certificate being presented. The title and the memory of this event last forever. Titles bestowed usually reflect the individual's special contribution to a community, company, club or organization, or family.
The Royal Chariot
The current fire engine being used by the Krewe was built in 1932 by Luverne Fire Apparatus of Luverne, Minnesota. It is believed to be the only one of its type left. The City of Saint Paul began allowing the Krewe to use this fire engine in the late 1950's. Over the years the fire engine has been rebuilt many times while maintaining most of the original body and frame. In 1996, Fire & Brimstone took over ownership and upkeep of the truck.
The Order of Fire and Brimstone
In the late 1940s some of the former Krewe members thought it would be nice to have a group formed that included only former Vulcans. This was a great idea but it took until 1958 before the right men would come along that would make it into a full-fledged incorporated organization. Fire & Brimstone is run by a Board of Directors that is elected by the general membership at their annual meeting. This boards main objective is to assist the Council of Fire Kings in putting a new Krewe on the street every year, but also plans many activities and events for F&B members and their families to attend throughout the entire year.
This legend is the theme that surrounds the history of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival:
A long, long time ago, Astraious, the god of Starlight, and Eos, the goddess of the Rosy Fingered Morn, were wed. The union was blessed with five sons: Boreas, Titan, Euros, Zephyrus and Notos. As the eldest, Boreas was granted the title "King of the Winds" and he assigned to each brother a permanent grant of great force and power. To Titan was assigned the blustery North Wind. To Euros was granted control of the irresponsible East Wind. To Zephyrus was given custody of the bountiful West Wind. To Notos was presented the balmy South Wind. The brothers cavorted gaily over land and sea.
Boreas, while on his extensive travels, came upon a winter paradise known as Minnesota. He paused to behold the enchanting beauty of a magnificent group of seven gently sloping hills in whose embrace nestled a beautiful city. Boreas whistled in sheer ecstasy, "Historic Saint Paul and her seven hills! An ideal place. I will make Saint Paul the capitol of all my domains. It will henceforth be emblazoned to the world as the winter playground of the Realm of Boreas."
Meanwhile, Vulcanus Rex, the god of Fire, and the implacable enemy of Boreas, crackled in defiant disdain. "By the great sword of Mars I will temper the blusterings of Boreas with the heat and roar of my forces." He was tireless in his bitter resistance to all the festivities of Boreas.
Undaunted, Boreas proclaimed a celebration in the spirit of gay Carnival. "So be it!" shouted Boreas, "There will be a Carnival in old Saint Paul!" Boreas selected a Prime Minister to coordinate preparations in all the Principalities, Provinces and Royal Houses within the realm of Saint Paul. And so, for ten glorious days, there was Carnival and joyous celebration in St. Paul -- feasting, dancing, fun and frolic reigned over by Boreas and the Queen of Snows, the fairest maiden of the realm, along with the four Winds, who were each accompanied by a lovely Princess from the realm of Boreas.
Klondike Kate, a lady of song and merriment, added her sassy but enchanting voice to the festivities by singing songs of desire and sentiment.
Senior King Winter, Queen of the Northlands, and their court contributed good will and wisdom, while Junior King Frost and Queen of the Snowflakes with their court, add youthful exuberance to the festival.
On the 10th day of celebration, Vulcanus Rex and his Krewe stormed the magnificent ice castle and confronted the King's Guard. Upon the good counsel of the Queen, Boreas bade farewell to the people of his winter capitol in the interest of peace and goodwill, and returned to dwell among the gods of Olympus. Boreas and his court looked forward to the time when summer's warmth would once again relinquish its hold on the realm and the frosty atmosphere of winter would prevail
Starting in 1952, each year during the carnival, there is an annual Treasure Hunt. The Saint Paul Pioneer Press prints in their newspaper 12 clues on 12 consecutive days. These clues point to a local park, where participants race to the park they think the clues point them towards, and start searching for the medallion. The clues are often cryptic until the 12th day, when people line up outside the newspaper offices, cell phones in hand and partners in parks, when the 12th clue gives them almost the exact location. The medallion has previously been hidden in a diaper, a White Castle hamburger box, a pop can, inside an Oreo cookie, and frozen in ice. The finders of the medallion are awarded up to $10,000 and receive a place of honor riding in the closing Torchlight Parade.
West St Paul Antique Mall's St Paul Winter Carnival Museum is:
Open to the public year round YOU ARE WELCOME TO STOP IN AND SEE THIS MUSEUM.
Tour Buses Welcome!
See you soon!
West Saint Paul Antiques An Antique Mall with All the Extras
Downstairs is the largest personal collection ofSt. Paul Winter Carnivalmemorabilia on public display, whict includes Louis Hill's (son of James J. Hill) Winter Carnival coats from the Northern Pacific Railway. All so located in the downstairs is our 1933 Chicago World's Fair collection.
Upstairs is a museum of artifacts from the original store of this 85 - year old building, the Cherokee Heights Grocery Store, and an extensive Kitchen Utensil collection.
Located On the main floor is one of the largest IOOF museums in the country. It includes the original, 1855, Grand Lodge sign from Olympia, Washington, and two 7 - foot Grand Master thrones featuring a beautiful stained glass IOOF logo.
Located on the main floor is memorabilia collection of America's King of Rock 'n Roll - Elvis Presley. This collection is on a rotating basis it will be back in 2010.
West St Paul Antiques Winter Carnival Museum
Afton, Minnesota 4th of July parade 2010.
2011 Winter Carnival Photos
February 2nd, 2011
2011 Winter Carnival Photos
2010 WINTER CARNIVAL 11 Days of Cold Weather Heaven, And Then Some…..
The 124th Saint Paul Winter Carnival will take place January 21 – 31, 2010 at locations all around downtown Saint Paul and surrounding areas.
However, before the official festivities can kick-off, a few customary events must be held, such as...
Saint Paul Winter Carnival To Unveil Five Buttons On December 5th, 2009
The five 2010 Saint Paul Winter Carnival Buttons will be unveiled in Grand style by Mayor Coleman and representatives from the Carnival. This revealing event is part of the annual Grand Meander festivities.
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