The Mankato Winter Carnival began on January 19, 1920. It started with a parade down Front Street with Mankato Mayor Watters as grand marshal. Watters, along with the city council members, rode through the parade on a float pulled by 100 horses. Many other organizations and businesses from Mankato joined in the parade as well.
For weeks, the city had planned and prepared this 5-day event. An ice palace was built at the Bridge Square Depot and a toboggan run was setup down Main Street Hill, running between 5th and 2nd streets. Ice rinks were created along Front Street and a ski slope was constructed near present-day Stadium Hill. Well-known winter athletes, including ski jumpers, speed skaters and figure skaters, were invited to participate. Competitions were held for both the professional and amateur athletes. If this wasn’t enough excitement, there was also a dog sled race down Front Street. It started at the corner of Mulberry, down to Marshall Street and back.
Even with all the attention and publicity the event received and the thousands of people who attended and participated, the Mankato Winter Carnival was never held again.
For more information about the Mankato Winter Carnival, visit the History Center to see our latest exhibit, “Winter Wonderland: Frozen Fun in Blue Earth County,” opening January 21.