Arts & Culture » Culture

Forty-fifth Parallel Rejoices at Return of McCall Winter Carnival

Runs Until Sunday, Feb. 3


In the summer months, McCall is known as a lakeside hangout where sunbathers clutching ice cream cones is a common sight near Payette Lake. But everybody knows winter is the most colorful time of year in this frosty resort town.

When the seasons change and snow piles up by the foot, its citizens rally together not unlike the Whos in Whoville for the annual McCall Winter Carnival, now in its 48th year.

Each year, the city celebrates its wintry pride with 10 days of events. Some of the biggest draws are the elaborate ice sculptures dotting the city. Last year, McCall Mountain Accents took home the grand prize for its Jurassic Park-inspired creation. This year's theme, Winter Magic, is sure to test the limits of creating frosty effigies.

But that's just the beginning. From snowshoe golf to snowmobile racing, the festival packs in all kinds of events, including fireworks over Payette Lake and live music each day on main and side stages, and the Barley Brothers Winter Ale Festival, which kicks off at noon Saturday, Feb. 2.

Saturday, Jan. 26, an ice fishing derby hits the frozen lake beginning at 6 a.m., and the city hosts snow tubing, an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast and the raucous Mardi Gras parade through downtown McCall. Ice skating and productions at the Alpine Playhouse offer nearby entertainment, while beard, hairy and sexy leg competitions take place Thursday, Jan. 31.

A full list of events—and there are many more—can be found at the McCall Chamber of Commerce website,