McCall’s is in the middle of what is likely to be the last time they host a 10-day Winter Carnival and this year’s snow sculpture artists REALLY went over the top. 

Stop. Don’t panic. This is NOT the last McCall Winter Carnival ever. It’s just changing formats in 2024. Last October, the McCall Area Chamber introduced some significant updates to the festival after doing a deep dive into lodging trends and talking to McCall Business owners. 

In the past, the Winter Carnival played a major role in McCall’s economy, but local businesses discovered that the cancelation of the 2021 event didn’t negatively impact their business. In fact, 80% of the respondents said their businesses actually did better that winter because people were still making their way up to ski at Brundage and take advantage of all the other winter recreation options the town had to offer. 

Townsquare Media Boise
Townsquare Media Boise

Traditionally, Winter Carnival draws enormous crowds of up to 60,000 tourists to the small town over the 10-day period. With that many people in town, businesses had to find extra staff which proved to be challenging. Being able to maintain those staffing levels over 10 days was even harder. Rather than disappoint carnival goers with a bad experience, some opted to stay closed during the 2022 festival. 

Decision makers felt that moving the event toward the tail end of the winter recreation season and reducing it to three days would make things better for business owners that call McCall home year-round. So, next year's Winter Carnival will be February 23-25. It will still have all the signature events like the parade, fireworks over Payette Lake and snow sculpture contest.

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That gives you plenty of time to plan ahead! Of course, this year’s festival is still happening through Sunday, February 5. If you’re planning to go up, there are 24 incredible icy works of art waiting for you this year. We were in town over the weekend and grabbed photos of as many of them as we could! Take a look and click HERE to find out everything you need to know about the final week of McCall Winter Carnival 2023!

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