Treasure Valley visitors to McCall Jan. 25 marveled at the snow sculptures at the 2014 McCall Winter Carnival, but it was the weather that was the real star. Plenty of sun and blue skies - something that Boiseans haven't seen much of lately - framed the second day of the nine-day festival, which was highlighted by the Mardi Gras Parade which featured plenty of costumed characters, ridiculous drill-teams, and tons of beads and candy being thrown to the thousands of people who lined McCall's downtown streets.
The contrast between McCall and the Treasure Valley this weekend is almost as different as .... well, night and day.
Motorists along Idaho Highway 55—and there should be plenty of them this weekend—first notice something odd when they pass through Long Valley: the sun. In fact, brilliant sunshine and blue skies have framed McCall this weekend for the opening of the Valley County community's Winter Carnival.
Thousands are expected to pack into the hamlet's tiny downtown core Saturday to participate in the carnival's Mardi Gras parade, which will feature floats, bands and more than its share of wacky drill teams.
Later in the day, the brave and the temporarily crazy will participate in the annual Sharlie's Plunge at Alpine Village, where anyone over the age of 13 is invited to jump into an ice-cold tub of water to raise money for Mentoring Youth Supporting Teens, the Yellow Couch Teen Center and the POTS Garden Project.
But it's really all about the snow sculptures at the McCall Winter Carnival, and this year's edition is pretty impressive. The real spectacle is a giant snow sphinx, complete with a tower of steps (but please don't walk on them) framing each side. And the inside of the sphinx is even more impressive: filled with mummies, a sarcophagus, hieroglyphics and ... well, you just have to see it to believe it.
Jan. 24's opening day was capped off at sunset by a torchlight parade with hundreds of kids taking over McCall's downtown, leading down to Payette Lake, where thousands braved the chills to see a dazzling set of fireworks over the ice.