McCall gears up for annual Winter Carnival

Posted at 8:44 AM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 10:44:58-05

MCCALL, Idaho — A favorite holiday tradition will be back this winter!

McCall, Idaho, is preparing to celebrate 56 years of the McCall Winter Carnival. According to organizers, the small town of 3,000 typically welcomes a surge of more than 60,000 people during the 10-day winter carnival each year.

This year's celebration runs Friday Jan. 29 through Sunday Feb. 7. Organizers say the essence of Winter Carnival will remain unchanged but many events will be altered to align with public health and safety best practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carnival-goers can expect to enjoy snow sculptures, vendors, family fun, outdoor recreation and the traditional small-town charm of McCall.

"At its core," says McKenzie Kraemer with the McCall Area Chamber, "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 could all definitely use."

Some things will look different in 2021. Events including the Children's Torchlight Parade, Mardi Gras Parade, firework shows, beer garden, and Main Stage music will all be put on hold due to COVID-19.

"While we know it is disappointing to not be able to host these events," says Kraemer, "they are simply going to have to wait until we are clear of the pandemic."

Large gatherings are of particular concern and the McCall Area Chamber's commitment to the health and safety of residents and visitors means that changes needed to be made for the 2021 Carnival.

The McCall Area Chamber, working in partnership with The Go Agency, a Boise-based event company, will continue to work on new, safe events to incorporate into the 2021 McCall Winter Carnival. This also includes partnering with the numerous local businesses and nonprofits that host events during the 10-day festival.

"Many events may look a bit different this year," Kraemer says, "but the spirit of Winter Carnival remains alive and well."