The 49th annual McCall Winter Carnival is set to make its much-anticipated return for yet another 10 days of enjoying all things winter. A time-honored tradition among locals since 1924, this festival has grown in popularity throughout the years, putting McCall on the map as one of the great places in the Northwest to celebrate the season.
A recent article from The Register-Guard, one of Oregon’s leading newspapers, summed up the experience perfectly calling McCall a ‘winter wonderland’ offering “dry powder, friendly folks and a festival with snow sculptures, parades, ice fishing and a ‘plunge.’”
From opening day fireworks adorning the crisp night sky to elaborate snow sculptures decorating the downtown streets, this year’s celebration will have no problem living up to its “World of Wonders” theme. The 2014 festivities are scheduled from Jan. 24 through Feb. 2 and will offer something for everyone as more than 50 events will take place throughout McCall. Here are a few must-see spectacles taking place this year:
Mardi Gras Parade – Jan. 25
What better way to get into the wintery spirit then to take in the sights at McCall’s annual Mardi Gras Parade. Held at noon on the streets of downtown McCall, this exciting event will feature community-constructed floats, music, drill teams and more.
Brundage Beer & Gear Festival – Jan. 25 & 26
Shore Lodge’s neighboring Brundage Mountain is not only a place to find some of the best skiing in Idaho, but also home to one of the coolest slope-side events found in the Northwest. Returning for its second year, the Beer & Gear Festival is a locally-inspired ski culture event featuring displays and demos of the latest ski gear and products, as well as a beer garden with select beers from the top Idaho breweries. Entrance to the event is free. Tickets for beer are priced at $1 for tastes and $5 for pints.
Sharlie’s Plunge – Jan. 25
Jumping into an icy pool of water might sound crazy — especially during the coldest month of the year — but when it’s for charity nothing is off limits. Donning only a swimsuit and water shoes, plungers will dive into an icy abyss to raise money for two local charities. This fun event begins at 3 p.m. and is open to anyone who can raise at least $100 for their jump. Those who choose not to test their hypothermia limits can simply donate to plungers and enjoy the show.
Other notable events include McCall Starz on Ice, the Children’s Torchlight Parade, the Barley Brothers Winter Ale Festival, an ice fishing derby, snowshoe golf, the MCPAWS Monster Dog Pull and live music.
This year’s Winter Carnival is sure to yet again add to the many reasons that snow season here is simply the best. But don’t take our word for it. As the Register-Guard states, “Don’t let anyone tell you that Sun Valley is the winter capital of Idaho. They’d be wrong. That title belongs to McCall.”