135th History: All About Winter Carnival Royalty

One of the great traditions of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival is the crowning of the Royal Family each carnival. These dedicated volunteers are chosen to serve the City of Saint Paul and greater community, traditionally making over 400 visits a year. Do you know the story of how it all began? Read the legend here and discover the history behind the crown!

Did You Know?!

  • In 1896, and for whatever reason, carnival organizers elected to go with a male Queen in 1896. Known as “Gloriana”, the Daisy Queen, Mr. Andrew Heckler performed the duties of Queen of the Snows and was by the side of Boreas Rex IV, Justice Charles Flandrau.
  • In 1916, 108 women applied for the coveted role of Queen of the Snows. Over 15,000 people attended the coronation and another estimated 30,000 were turned away. The Boreas Rex I, J.P. Elmer, could not decide on one queen and instead selected ALL 108 candidates including 9 month old, Natalie Lethert Ayers!
  • Due to World War I and the pandemic of 1918, Winter Carnival activities were scaled back to just one day and all activities took place at Fort Snelling. There was no queen selected. Instead, Miss. Mabel Looby continued her role as Carnival Girl for another year as did Boreas Rex II, Mr. J.P. Ridler. Ironically, due to the pandemic of 2020, history is repeating in terms of a two-term Boreas and his lady serving in the same capacity as King and Queen for 2020 and 2021. Boreas Rex LXXXIV, Darrin Johnson and Queen of the Snows, Kirstin Knutson are gladly serving those roles again! 

King of Winter,Boreas Rex…

A Glimpse at Aurora, Queen of the Snows, Through the Years…

 

Do you recognize King Frost XLVII, a familiar face in the City of Saint Paul. He would later go on to become Mayor the Capital City! 

Winter Carnival’s own, Sassy & Sweet, Klondike Kate…

More Great Resources

Looking for more great history about the Saint Paul Winter Carnival? Visit the Minnesota Historical Society’s online database and the Ramsey County Historical Society’s online database and search, “Winter Carnival.”

Thank you and credit to the Minnesota Historical Society; the Ramsey County Historical Society; archives of the Pioneer Press and “Fire and Ice” by Moira Harris for helping contribute to this collection of 135th History! Also, thank you to Winter Carnival’s own, Tom Barrett, for helping us digitize all this history!