Three-time American League batting champion and Twins legend Joe Mauer will serve as grand marshal of the St. Paul Winter Carnival's King Boreas Grand Day Parade, officials from the midwinter festival said Monday.

Mauer, 35, his wife Maddie, and their twin daughters, Emily and Maren, will ride in a vehicle featuring a hot-air balloon basket during the parade, which will step off at 2 p.m. Jan . 26 and travel along W. 7th Street and end at Kellogg Mall Park.

"I'm excited about being the grand marshal," Mauer said in a video announcement. "It should be a good time."

Dubbed as the "Coolest Celebration on Earth," the 133rd Winter Carnival will run Jan. 24 through Feb. 3. The festival, which debuted in 1886, will feature dozens of events — most of them free — in downtown St. Paul and the State Fairgrounds.

The carnival draws about 250,000 visitors each year, according to the St. Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit which produces the event.

For a schedule of events see

Tim Harlow