All the snow we’ve been under this year means just one thing — the McCall Winter Carnival is going to rock! With tons of snow and loads of community spirit, the popular annual festival will turn your snowman’s frown upside down with parades, snow sculptures, winter sports, ice skating, music, crafts, food, frolic and fun.
This year’s theme — “1 Valley, 100 Years” — celebrates Valley County’s founding in 1917.
▪ The Children’s Torchlight Parade kicks off the official opening as it winds its way through the heart of downtown McCall starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27. (Lineup starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Congregational Church, 901 N. 1st St., at Park Street.) The parade heads down East Lake Street to Legacy Park in time for a spectacular fireworks display over Payette Lake at 7 p.m.
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▪ The annual Mardi Gras Parade gives adults a chance to get a little wacky at noon Saturday, Jan. 28. (Lineup is at 11:30 a.m. at McCall-Donnelly High School, 401 N. Mission St.) With “1 Valley, 100 Years” being the theme, you will see lots of old-timey costumes, floats and more. And yes, you still can wear your timeless Mardi Gras beads.
▪ Polish off the festival in style with the closing ceremonies at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4, at Legacy Park and another round of fireworks over Payette Lake at 7 p.m.
Art and snow
Every carnival, artists turn the snow into remarkable sculptures filled with beauty and drama.
▪ See the results of the Local Snow Sculpture competition at businesses throughout McCall starting Friday, Jan. 27. (You can download a map at McCallChamber.org of the 39 local sculptures and take a self-guided tour.)
▪ Watch artists work in Depot Park during the annual Idaho State Championship Snow Sculpting Competition from Tuesday, Jan. 31, until judging at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 3. After that, just enjoy the art.
You’ll find a lineup of local and regional live music at the Depot Park main stage throughout the carnival.
▪ McCall rockers Big Mac and the Noise, 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27.
▪ Boise outlaw country band Innocent Man, 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Local DJs take over at 7 p.m.
▪ Bay Area bluegrass band Free Peoples, 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3. Also, 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4.
▪ Salt Lake harmonica blues band Tony Holiday & The Velvetones, 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4.
Find more music performances at pubs and other venues at McCallChamber.org.
Fun on ice
Head to the Manchester Ice and Event Center, 200 E. Lake St., McCall, for two great events:
▪ The annual “Black and Blue” faceoff between the Boise State University and University of Idaho hockey clubs hits the ice at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28. Tickets are $15 general, $8 for 17 and younger at the box office. Boise State VIP tickets are $50 at (208) 866-4407.
▪ See the dazzling Starz on Ice Winter Carnival Spectacular “Dreams,” featuring a cast of junior and professional skaters, including Olympic bronze medalist Jeremy Abbott. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, and Saturday, Feb. 4. Tickets are $20 general, $10 for 6-17, free for 5 and younger at the box office only. VIP on-ice seating $40 per person, $320 for a table of eight by calling (208) 634-3570.
Check out the second annual Hometown Races presented by the McCall Winter Sports Club. Anyone can compete, or just watch, in Nordic (at Bear Basin Trailhead), Alpine and combined events on Saturday, Jan. 28. Races happen at the Little Ski Hill, 3635 Idaho 55. Register as a team of three ($60 youth, $75 adult) or individual ($20 youth, $25 adult) at McCallWinterSportsClub.org. It’s $5 more to register on the day of the event.
▪ The Flashpoint Snow Bike races bring some of the best riders to McCall on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the future site of Riverfront Park, across from Smokejumper Base, 605 Mission St. Qualifying rounds start at 11 a.m.; the finals are at 2:30 p.m. This is round three of the American Motorcycle Association’s national championship series.
▪ You won’t want to miss the adorable MCPAWS Regional Animal Shelter’s annual Monster Dog Pull from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 29, at Alpine Village, 600 N. 3rd St. See pups of all sizes and breeds race on a short track while pulling a weighted sled. Registration is $15 starting at 10:45 a.m. on the day of the event. Learn more at MCPAWS.org. Proceeds benefit the shelter.
Other fun stuff
▪ The beer garden in Depot Park will pour a lineup of local and regional brews and wine Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 27 and 28, and Feb. 3 and 4.
▪ You’ll find food carts, trucks and booths on East Lake Street at Legacy Park from Fridays to Sundays, Jan. 27 to 29 and Feb. 3 to 5.
▪ Check out the array of local artisan crafts at the Winter Carnival Craft Faire at the Hunt Lodge Holiday Inn Express, 210 N. 3rd St., noon to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29.
▪ There are many more events, including PlayLive’s “Call Of Duty” championships, community theater performances at the Alpine Playhouse, tubing at the Activity Barn, beard and hairy leg contests at the Yacht Club and the new Trivia Night at Northfork Lodge (6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28).
Find more event details at McCallChamber.org.
Friday, Jan. 27, to Sunday, Feb. 5, at various venues in McCall, about two hours north of Boise. Find more event details at McCallChamber.org.