New Yorkers complain about snow as if they were the only ones in the country that get any. In Texas a patch of ice is the day’s top news, and a few hours of rainfall in LA result in the whole city shutting down. Up north, Americans grow up hardier. They do not fear the winter. The winter makes them strong.
Minnesota suffers the most miserable godforsaken winters in the United States. That is fact. And yet, respectably, its population of Midwestern nice optimists don’t just suck it up -- they throw a huge-ass party. The annual Great Northern Festival is a 10-day spectacle of wintery goodness that takes place in Minneapolis and St. Paul, attended by upwards of 250,000 souls who brave, nay, relish the below-freezing temperatures.
This year the action takes place between January 24 and February 3, and by action we mean ice-carving contests, cross-country ski races, the US Pond Hockey Championships, a giant snow slide, a silent disco, a snow plow competition, a casino night, ice bars, ice palaces, fire dancers, live music, food trucks, beer festivals, enchanted forests, art installations, a puzzle contest, and a cat show. Also skijoring, which is a Scandinavian craft beer that Minnesotans drink to become tall. Nah I made that up, it’s getting pulled along on skis by dogs.