mccall%20winter-550?v=1

A Winter Carnival

The McCall Winter Carnival traces its roots back to 1924's Payette Lake Sports Carnival

Article by Editorial Staff

Photography by Visit McCall + Visit Idaho

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Celebrate all things winter at the 2023 McCall Winter Carnival from January 27 through February 5th. Carnival-goers will enjoy winter activities including ice skating, dog sledding, snow bike races, snow sculptures and much more. Parades, fireworks, live music and theatre, and world-class dining thrill visitors from all over the world. Don’t miss the Beard and Leg Contest! An iconic Idaho event, experiencing the McCall Winter Carnival is the best way to relish everything snow has to offer.

The McCall Winter Carnival traces its roots back to 1924 when the small town of timber workers created the Payette Lake Sports Carnival. In 1965 the community rallied to host a festival that would promote the area’s pristine skiing. This culminated in the inaugural carnival which included a two-day event with slalom races, cross-country ski events, ski jumps, and snowshoe and snowcat races. Since then, this beloved annual event has exploded in both size and popularity. The town of 3,000 bands together to collectively host more than 60,000 visitors over 10 days. 

Event organizers spend months preparing to host the carnival so travelers to McCall can experience the warm small-town charm it has been cultivating for decades. Local businesses set up curbside attractions, vendors put up tents, and dozens of volunteers pitch in hundreds of hours.  Rooted in rustic charm, the community and the local effort to support each other is part of why the carnival grew to be so successful. The charm of the town is a glowing warmth to all who visit, and the chamber has worked hard to ensure that feeling endures into future years. 

McCall is a place of outdoor recreation. It’s in the bones of the town and the hearts of the people who live there. Winter Carnival was started to get people outside, break the cabin fever, and build community. This is exactly what you will find this year, and something we can all use. For the most up-to-date information on visiting the 2023 McCall Winter Carnival go to VisitMcCall.org.

Typical Carnival events:

Friday

  • Local Snow Sculpture Contest Winners Awarded
  • Children’s Torchlight Parade
  • Opening Ceremonies
  • Fireworks over Payette Lake
  • Vendor Court & Beer Garden
  • Live Music on the Main Stage

Saturday

  • Pancake Breakfast
  • Craft Faire – canceled for 2022
  • Mardi Gras Parade (starts at noon) – canceled for 2022
  • Flashpoint Snowbike Race
  • Live Music on the Main Stage
  • Vendor Court & Beer Garden
  • Alpine Playhouse Theater Production

Sunday

  • McPAWS Monster Dog Sled Pull
  • Snowshoe Golf
  • Vendor Court

Midweek:

  • Idaho Dog Sled Challenge
  • Chef Collaborative Dinner
  • Wine Dinners
  • Party Bingo (Tuesday)
  • Grand Bingo (Wednesday)
  • An Evening for Education: A Culinary Fundraiser (Thursday)
  • Alpine Playhouse Theater Production
  • Happy Hours and Food Specials
  • Idaho State Snow Sculpting Championships

Friday (Second weekend:)

  • Idaho State Snow Sculpting Championship Winners Awarded
  • Vendor Court & Beer Garden
  • Live Music on the Main Stage
  • Alpine Playhouse Theater Production
  • McCall Starz on Ice

Saturday

  • McCall Area Snowmobilers Fun Run
  • Snowshoe Golf
  • Family Bingo
  • Local Talent Showcase on the Main Stage
  • Live Music on the Main Stage
  • Vendor Court & Beer Garden
  • Closing Ceremonies
  • Fireworks over Payette Lake
  • McCall Starz on Ice


 

Businesses Featured in this Article

Related Businesses

Related Articles