Saturday, January 24, 2015

Winter Carnival Adventures

When we are at the language camps in Poland we always do some sort of presentation for the students. Usually people speak about their home towns. (I have, however, tried to find different subjects because how many times can I speak about Minnesota and not bore them to death!?!) One volunteer this year came from Milwaukee and he spoke about how nice the city is along Lake Michigan in the summer, but said over and over again that due to the cold there is nothing to do in the winter. I told him he needed to move to Minnesota because there is plenty to do in the winter in Minnesota, and St. Paul in particular.

Now the Winter Carnival is in progress. This is the 129th Winter Carnival, so this is far from a new idea. The story behind this is that a New York City paper, in the late 19th century, wrote that St. Paul was the Siberia of North America. So to refute this notion the city fathers of St. Paul decided to put on a great party in the winter, and the Winter Carnival was born.

Today was the day for the King Boreas Parade. As the Winter Carnival legend goes King Boreas is in charge of winter.

Following is a picture of the Winter Carnival Queen and the princesses. It is not a good picture -- all of us standing on the curb were being pushed and shoved by people who insisted on crossing the street between parade units. I really couldn't figure out what was in their minds -- why did they come there if they didn't want to stand still and watch the parade, and many were on the cell phones trying to figure out what had happened to others of their group. Enough of my tirade about these impolite people -- back to the parade.

The 2015 Winter Carnival Queen is on the top left of the float. To my knowledge this is the first African-American woman selected to be Queen.

King Boreas is attended the Princes of the North, West, East, and South. Here is the float (and for people in other countries float may be a funny word -- it is the name used in American English for something such as the structure used by the Winter Carnival royalty shown in these pictures) for the South.

The unicycle group entertained the parade watchers.

Notice there is no snow to be seen. It is not as if the city removed it -- no it is has been warm enough that it simply melted away. We really deserve this after the terrible winter we had last year. Today was easily 50 degrees warmer than this same day last year -- + 30 something is much better than -20 something!!!

Above is a view of a few of the Hilex gnomes. The city used to have plant where Hilex was made. The gnomes have been in the parade probably since the 1930s.

Another traditional part of this parade is the Bouncing Girls.

The guy above got in trouble with both parade watchers and nearby police officer for thinking he was so important that he had to interrupt everything to take a selfie with the History Hound from the Minnesota Historical Society.

Everyone was delighted with the group representing the Siberian Husky Rescue group.

About the last unit in the parade was the float for the Lions group. This a fraternal organization which centers its work on vision services. Early in my career when I was a public health nurse in a rural county in southern Iowa it was this group that helped me when I found a child who needed glasses, but who came from a family who could not afford them.

The parade ends with the Vulcans, but I didn't get a picture -- the street crossers were particularly annoying at this time. In about a week the Vulcans will overtake King Boreas and then spring will come.

When the parade was over I walked over the Central Library and sat down on a bench. I had been on my feet for nearly 2 hours and sitting down felt very good. I went through my pictures, hitting the delete button for those that didn't need to be kept. I wanted the crowd also to disperse a bit from the nearby Rice Park so I could try for some pictures of the ice sculptures. I was concerned that if I didn't do that today, by tomorrow they would be gone.

And I was right. -- When I got there I found some of the ice sculptures melting and crashing to the ground.

I did get these two pictures.

Near here I heard someone say, "I can smell the beer garden."

The ice bar in Rice Park was doing good business.

I started walking towards home and found another outdoor bar at the Great River Brewing Company.

Just about home I walked by the Fitzgerald Theater and saw the crowd lined up for the 5:00 performance of the Prairie Home Companion.
 And if this is not enough the Red Bull Crashed Ice event is also this weekend. I was not anywhere to take any pictures of this but it easy to find this on You-Tube. This is the third year Crashed Ice has been in St. Paul.

All of this should prove there is something to do in St. Paul in the winter, so please you all from Milwaukee come here for the winter -- don't say bored in your city!!!

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