The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is known for its legendary parades that have brought spectators from all over the U.S. to see the many marching groups and carefully decorated floats. King Boreas Grande Day Parade typically kicks off the carnival festivities in a grand fashion for all to see!
Did You Know?!
- Multiple parades were held in 1887 during the festival. One parade was limited to just dogs and over 175 participated!
- Another parade in 1887 featured local businesses and every business was encouraged to have employees in matching uniforms.
- Many of the marching uniforms from the 1916, 1917 and 1918 Winter Carnivals were donated to help with the war effort. Thus, uniforms from that time are highly collectible.
- In 1939 the famous Hi-Lex gnomes make their first appearance in Winter Carnival parades.
- In 1947, George and Shirley Shumaker designed their first float for the St Paul Winter Carnival. For almost the next 50 years, the Shumaker’s made numerous floats and displays for the Winter Carnival. In 1968, the Shumaker’s had 32 of their floats in the parade!
- Reportedly in 1982, it was so cold, small groups of parade participants decided to march through the skyways surprising many vendors and visitors along the way.
A Glimpse at Year’s Past Floats and Marching Units (click-thru):
In past Winter Carnivals, thousands of spectators have lined the streets for the grandest parade of them all!
Do you have a favorite parade memory? As seen in the home videos below, Winter Carnival parades were sure an event to remember and document!
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!