St. Paul Winter Carnival 2008

This weekend marked the kickoff of the 122nd annual St. Paul Winter Carnival

According to Wikipedia, 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.

Being a Twin Cities transplant and former downtown St. Paul resident, every year I feel compelled to bundle up and at least check out the parades and ice sculptures.

The photo above is “Pixie Hollow” by my friends Paul and Deneena Hughes. Here’s a KARE11 segment of them (and sculptor Rob Graham) talking about the challenge of staying up 60 hours to create these masterpieces only to have the weather crack a block.

This year’s Grande Day Parade was a balmy 24 degrees and filled with the same quirky traditions and parade standy-bys.

Can someone please explain what the heck these things are (and why?)


If you missed the parade this Saturday, you can still catch the Torchlight Parade this coming Saturday, February 2nd at 6 p.m. (route pdf). And be sure to check out the Hot Dish Tent, including crowd favorite, Tater Tot Casserole.

5 Comments so far

  1. History Guy (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 7:27 am

    I think those are the mascots for Hilex Bleach, which used to be made in St Paul.

  2. noodleman (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 8:47 am

    Yes! Hylex! Looks like the Vulcans got ahold of the costumes after Hylex ended its sponsorship.

  3. Bob from ALAMN (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 9:00 am

    I believe the proper spelling is Hy-Lex. See more here:

  4. Tom B. (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 10:58 am

    My wife asked that very question when we saw a bunch of ’em in front of an antique shop near Xcel. I figured they were Carnival related which confused me, since they look like enormous sperm.

  5. Erica M (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 1:03 pm

    Whatever they are they’re creepy little mofos. That’s the kind of thing that chases you in your nightmares.

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