The little town of McCall has some of the best fun the Idaho winter can offer. Its 52nd annual Winter Carnival runs Jan. 27 through Feb. 5. Put aside the fact that you’ll find skiing, sledding, ice skating and hot springs; here’s four more reasons worth going:
Master snow sculptors from around the world are known to hone their skills at McCall’s annual Snow Sculpture Competition. Some sculptors will work through the night tonight to complete their works of art out of ice and snow in time for judging Friday morning. Sculptures can be found in front of businesses throughout McCall with a couple more in neighboring Donnelly and Cascade. Maps are available online at the McCall Chamber website.
In addition, the Idaho State Snow Sculpting Championships take place Tuesday, Jan. 31 in Depot Park.
All sculptures are on display as long as the sun allows.
2. Colorful parades and fireworks
Two parades kick off the carnival each year. Kids with flashlights and glow sticks will march through downtown at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 in the Children’s Torchlight Parade. The zany Mardi Gras Parade at noon Saturday, Jan. 28 features a variety of floats and locals in colorful costumes. Fireworks will light up the sky above Payette Lake at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Feb. 4.
3. Bustling street parties and music
It’s cold outside but street vendors cook up hot foods at the outdoor vendor court from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 on East Lake Street. You’ll find a variety of carnivalesque items for sale. There’s also beer gardens each day and live music both weekends. For more music, head to a McCall nightspot like the Forester’s Club where you’ll find the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley band the Hitmen playing at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27 and 28.
4. Beards and hairy legs welcome
Proud of the bushy beard or luxurious leg hair you’ve been tending for months? Unleash it on a crowd at the Beard, Sexy Leg and Hairy Leg Contest 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2 at the Yacht Club, home to a drink called “the Horny Hole.” Probably best to not have too many.
A complete schedule of events can be found online at mccallchamber.org.