How does this work?
You will purchase a ticket for your vehicle at wintercarnival.com for your preferred day and time. Arrival instructions will be sent to you ahead of your event slot to help you prepare for the event. When you arrive at the Ecolab Welcome Lot, event personnel will approach your vehicle to check you in and direct you to your starting location. When your time comes, you will proceed along the event route, following the car in front of you or following the guided path through the sculpture park. You will remain in your vehicle throughout the experience to help ensure a safe event for everyone.
Where is the event located?
The Drive-Thru takes place at the MN State Fairgrounds in Saint Paul, MN. The entrance to the event is located in the Ecolab Welcome Lot (aka the Midway Lot), which you must enter at the intersection of Como Ave and Canfield St. The best GPS location is: Minnesota State Fair Compeer Arena, 1871 Judson Ave, St Paul, MN 55108.
How many people can be in my vehicle?
There is no restriction on number of people per vehicle; however, passengers must adhere to standard Minnesota traffic laws and seat belts must be available for each passenger. No limos, raised vehicles or sprinter vans are allowed in the drive-thru. Designated passenger buses will be allowed with prior approval from the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
How long does the event take?
We estimate a drive through the entire experience should take roughly 30 minutes. You should also plan to arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of your designated time slot.
Will there be food available?
Yes. There will be a few food vendors serving snack-style foods such as kettle corn, mini donuts, etc at the end of the route. Transactions will take place at the driver’s window and masks are required by both the driver and the server during the transaction.
What does my ticket include?
Your time slot ticket includes access for one vehicle to drive the event route during your designated time slot, and a swag bag for your vehicle. You will have the opportunity to purchase food and merchandise along the event route.
Where are my tickets?
Your tickets are included in your confirmation email and can be downloaded to print and/or scan on your mobile phone at the entrance. If you cannot find your confirmation email you can resend it to the email you originally purchased tickets with by clicking here.
Day vs. Night, what will I see?
The route is the same regardless of what time you choose to attend, however, the magnitude of the displays will differ based on time of day. During the day, you will see all the snow and ice sculptures in daylight. You may also see special features such as fire trucks and hot air balloons. By night, all of the displays and special features will be lighted with colorful lights throughout the drive. This is not a light show, but lights will be used to highlight the features of the event under darkness.
I can no longer make my time slot; can I get a refund?
Refunds are not available for this event and as most days and times of the event are sold out, we can no longer make adjustments to selected ticket timing. If you are unable to use your ticket, it will be gratefully accepted as a donation to the Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.
When or where can I exit the vehicle?
To limit person-to-person contact, the drive-thru experience is intended to be fully enjoyed from the comfort of your vehicle. Restrooms will be available at the beginning and the end of the route, but not throughout, so please plan accordingly. Food vendors and merchandise areas will be drive-up style so you will not need to exit your vehicle to partake in those elements. For more information on safety precautions being taken at the event to prevent spread of COVID-19, view our event Preparedness Plan.
Are pets allowed?
We do not recommend bringing animals with you. As the event is a drive-thru experience, we do not have designated pet relief areas and your pets will not be allowed to exit your vehicle during the drive should they become spooked by any event activities.
Are their restrooms available?
There are two designated areas on the route with portable restrooms, including ADA accessibility: at the entrance in the Ecolab Welcome Lot and at the very end of the route before you exit. We recommend all passengers use the restrooms before arriving at the event to limit contact onsite.
What if there is bad weather?
This event will take place rain, snow or shine. The event route will be properly managed for snow and ice removal on the roads throughout the festivities. However, the Saint Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation reserves the right to cancel any element of the event, and the event in its entirety, due to serious inclement weather. Should the event be canceled due to weather, all ticket holders will be notified via their purchase email regarding alternatives. Tickets are non-refundable and will be accepted as a donation to the Saint Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.
What about the ice sculptures in Rice Park and the Vulcan Snow Park?
In a change from years past, the Winter Carnival Ice Carvings will move from Rice Park to the Fairgrounds to create the Ice and Snow Sculpture Park. The Winter Carnival Vulcans will, once again, manage the snow sculpture attraction and the annual Snow Stomp event that is used to create the huge blocks for artists to sculpt their snowy works of art. There will be no snow slide or snow park as part of this year’s event. All sculptures will be featured in the Drive-Thru event.
Why is there a charge for tickets when the Winter Carnival used to be free?
New this year, guests can enjoy the Winter Carnival ice and snow sculptures in one location, in a fun and safe way! Throughout this unprecedented year, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival produced by the Saint Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, was unable to host many of our traditional fundraising activities. So, we either had to cancel the Carnival, or ask fans to support our 135th year of activities by purchasing nominally priced tickets. For fans who may not be able to afford tickets, we have developed ways they can participate for free, including volunteer activities and group sponsorship. Thanks to our dozens of volunteers, board members, sponsors and staff, we are excited announce that our time-honored, heart of the winter event, the 135th annual Winter Carnival will go on for many years to come!
How can I play Trivia, Bingo, and vote for my favorite sculptures?
The Winter Carnival web app can be used to play along with Securian Financial Trivia and to Ice Your Vote during your Drive-Thru experience!
You will receive a BINGO card when you check-in at the entrance onsite and will be able to check off items throughout the route. You can request additional cards so each member of your vehicle can participate as well. Completed cards should be dropped in the BINGO card dropbox before exiting the event route.
Can’t find your question here? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff and volunteers are currently working onsite at the event so response time may be slower than usual.