Almost as soon as Minneapolis was awarded the 2018 Super Bowl, many assumed that the St. Paul Winter Carnival would join the hoopla by building a massive ice palace, as in 1992 when the big game was last played here.
It’s not going to happen.
Winter Carnival officials announced Wednesday that the group working to build the ice palace for the 2018 festival has canceled the project. Ice Cold Events, part of the Saint Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation, “reached a point where they could not guarantee enough financial support to cover costs to allow the project to move forward,” according to a statement from the Winter Carnival.
The winter festival will be extended by a week to connect with other Super Bowl-related activities running from Jan. 25 through Feb. 10. The 2018 Super Bowl is Feb. 4.
While Winter Carnival officials said they have been working with Super Bowl folks to “cross-promote” their events, neither organization is officially connected to the other.
“We needed to know we could pay our bills for what was a very complex project and just could not make that work,” said Rosanne Bump, executive director of Ice Cold Events.
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee issued this statement Wednesday: “St. Paul will be front and center during our 10-day festival, jam-packed with Super Bowl activities including several marquee events to be announced soon.”
In 1992, the Winter Carnival built a massive, $1.1 million ice palace on Harriet Island to coincide with Super Bowl XXVI, played at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The St. Paul Winter Carnival Association ended up filing for bankruptcy due to the high costs of the project, even though the ice palace drew an estimated 2.5 million visitors.