The Saint Paul Winter Parade is an annual well-attended festival which is held in the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. The parade can trace its initial roots back to 1885 when a report from New York described the city of Saint Paul as another Siberia that was unfit for human habitation. This infuriated the respectable citizens of the town, and the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce decided to prove that the city was both habitable and that its citizens were very much full of life, even during the colder winter months, despite it being their most dominant season.
The first parades were held in 1886 and continued each year until 1896. The march did not see much interest from the city at that time and was stopped due to the rising and significant cost of hosting the event. The parade was brought back several times throughout the years, although it was almost always cancelled immediately afterwards due to lack of public interest. This continued until 1946 when the parade has taken place each year since.
The parade is known for its elaborate floats and events, as well as public spectacles. The ceremony has several traditions which have carried on since the first parade, such as having its own royal family who lead it. In 1886, King Boreas the First was crowned, and the first Winter Parade commenced; this was also the first time that an ice palace was featured during the parade. The palace was made from the ice of Minnesota lakes and has since evolved into an internationally recognised part of the entire event, with many tourists coming to see the ice palace alone.
The earlier events featured such activities as bobsledding and ice horse racing, although many of these activities have stopped in more recent years due to safety and liability concerns. The parade also featured several Native American tribes who became long-term participants of it. Many members of local tribes in the region would come to the parade and pitch tents to help participate in the event.
The medallion hunt has become an essential part of the entire event. First introduced in 1952, the medallion hunt is a treasure hunt. The local newspaper, the Saint Paul Pioneer Press prints 12 clues on 12 consecutive days to help participants locate the medallion. The finders of the medallion are awarded up to $10000.