5 American Winter Festivals

Just because the weather is cold, doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun outside this winter! Celebrate in the snow with these whacky winter festivals:


Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, MD; January 25, 2014

On January 25th, people take part in a polar bear plunge-where they dive into freezing cold water in the middle of winter-all over the country. Maryland’s PlungeFest is the biggest one of all, attracting more than 25,000 plungers and spectators. All proceeds benefit the Special Olympics Maryland – so it’s a great excuse to dive into the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay. If you don’t want to jump in the water, you can also participate in carnival games, live music and giant sand sculptures!


Nederland, CO; March 7–9, 2014

Packed in 1,600 pounds of dry ice and kept cool at a steady 60 degrees, Grandpa Bredo Morstoel is the inspiration behind the aptly-named Frozen Dead Guy Days event. Each winter, Nederland, Colorado celebrates Grandpa Bredo with coffin races, a parade of hearses, a frozen T-shirt contest, snow “beach” volleyball, and other offbeat cold-weather activities.


Saranac Lake, NY; January 31–February 9, 2014

The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival has evolved into the longest-running event of its kind in the easter U.S. The carnival consists of sports such as Nordic skiing and ice-skating, but also hosts competitions like ultimate arctic Frisbee and a women’s frying pan toss! The annual themed parade is also famous for its ice palace–a giant structure made with more than 1,000 ice blocks, weighing up to 800 pounds each.


Anchorage, AK; February 21–March 2, 2014

Winter can run extra long in Ancorage, whichi s why the first Fur Rendezvous was started in 1935, to break up these freezing winter months with games, sports, and even a torchlight parade. Today, “Rondy” has grown into a 10-day long celebration featuring a grand prix auto race, a “running of the Reindeer” event, a Miss Rondy contest, and men’s snowshoe softball. The main event is the Championship Sled Dog Race, which attracts teams of sled dogs and people from all over the world.


Whitefish, MT; February 7–9, 2014

Legend has it that Ullr, the Nordic god of snow, settled on the Big Mountain in Northwest Montana.However, trouble came for Ullr and his queen, as they encountered a group of unruly yetis set upon kidnapping the queen. Luckily to pay homage to their winter king, the people of Whitefish created the Whitefish Winter Carnival, where they celebrate winter by parading down Main Street on skis, crafting ice sculptures, and even skijoring!