Through the years, suffering the cold has become a sort of challenge that we celebrate. It’s a challenge that many accept excitedly and many more accept begrudgingly. For instance, do you remember the ice bucket challenge where you dump a bucket of ice over a friend (or victim) for charity? Or the various snowball fights you had as a child or maybe still have, because who ever really grows out of wanting to play in the snow? We take stock in knowing that we’ve embraced the cold and we’re always a little rosier and prouder for doing so. It goes beyond our backyard though, with communities around the country celebrating winter’s beauty and coming together to make something magical, memorable, and fulfilling. It’s not just that we’re trying to beat the cold, but find a reason to make something meaningful because of it. In Leavenworth, Washington, they celebrate winter with the Bavarian Icefest which includes outdoor games, treats, and a stroll down a stunning street adorned with holiday lights. In our neighbor state of Wisconsin, they celebrate Winter Fest with art, music, and various family events and friendly competitions.
In International Falls, we have our own winter celebrations and, not to brag, but we’ve become quite famous for them. With several national news stations and big-name writers coming to check out Icebox Days and watch runners shiver through the Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run, we proudly own the “Icebox of the Nation” nickname. You’ll be hard pressed to find a colder place in the US than International Falls, MN, on any given day in January. But it’s just that challenge that we accept gladly as we prepare to celebrate the 40th Annual Icebox Days Winter Festival.
If you’re ready to celebrate the cold with us, there’s a plethora of activities to choose from in order to stay warm, and most importantly, have fun in January. To help you get organized, here are a few suggestions to make the most out of your festival weekend:
Want to see what Icebox Days from years past looked like? Read on from our blog here.
Welcome to the wacky winter festival known as Icebox Days – an annual celebration staged in what the world knows as the “Icebox of the Nation.” That trademarked moniker, given to us by Collier’s magazine decades ago, harbors plenty of implications but one thing is for sure - it keeps the media inquiring and has put us on the global map.
Events through the years have been covered by CBS, NBC and ABC networks and others. Icebox Days has also been featured on The Travel Channel, The Weather Channel, MSNBC, Lifetime and dozens of national and international publications. A few years ago, Emmy Award-winning television journalist JuJu Chang visited with her son and producer, resulting in an International Falls feature on the ABC program “Nightline.”
Yet there’s still a lot more you need to know about us. Our people live here because they love the area and are inhabited with an affection for nature illustrated in joyous winter activity and winter resiliency.
Sure – we celebrate winter with our wacky and wonderful winter festival. But here’s another thing: International Falls is beautiful in four distinct seasons – breathtakingly pristine winters melt into heavenly summers, and glorious autumns. In the meantime, Icebox Days is packed full of fun and zany games for all people, including frozen turkey bowling; the locally invented “smoosh” races; moonlight skiing in Voyageurs National Park; the infamous “Gizzard” runs and much more (as you will see in this schedule).
Be sure to catch the exhilarating FIREWORKS under the winter sky at 6 p.m. Saturday near Smokey Bear Park.
2019 Icebox Days are coordinated by the International Falls Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of International Falls, generous sponsors and dozens of volunteers. You are warmly welcomed to the Icebox of the Nation for the 39th amazing year of Icebox Days and Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run.