ICMYI: McCall Announces Major Changes to Its Famous Winter Carnival
If McCall Winter Carnival is a yearly tradition for your family, you probably already have the 2023 dates on the calendar. Planning ahead for 2024? You’ll need to adjust those dates.
On October 11, the McCall Area Chamber shared significant updates about the event via their Facebook page. 2023’s “Fair Tales, Folk Tales & Tall Tales” themed event Winter Carnival is scheduled to take place January 27-February 5. Carnival-goers will see the return of the Mardi Gras parade for the first time since 2020. It was put on hold in 2022 due to COVID concerns and a lack of manpower to hold the parade safely.
The return of the parade is the only significant update for 2023, but the 2024 event will see some major changes. The social media update revealed that Winter Carnival will be reduced to a three-day event and moved to the final weekend in February. It’s a decision they reached after looking at lodging trends and talking to McCall business owners.
While Winter Carnival normally played a major role in McCall’s economy, the feedback revealed that more than 82% of businesses said that canceling the event in 2021 didn’t negatively impact their business. In fact, 80% said their business was actually up that year.
In the full press release from the chamber, several area business owners revealed that the carnival, which brings a surge of 60,000 tourists to the small Idaho town over the 10-day period, actually made things more difficult to manage because of staffing shortages. Some opted to close during the event, rather than provide carnival goers with a sub-par experience.
The decision-makers feel like moving the carnival toward the tail end of the winter recreation season and reducing it to three days will be a better fit for business owners that call McCall home year-round.
The chamber announced the three-day event is scheduled for February 23-25, 2024 and February 21-23, 2025. It will still include the Children’s Torchlight Parade, Mardi Gras Prade, snow sculpture contest, live music and fireworks show over Payette Lake.
As big, big fans of Winter Carnival, we’re thankful to see the chamber take care of their small businesses, rather than cave to the will of tourists. We knew that the event would be slammed in 2022 and adjusted our expectations properly.
We couldn’t say the same for people we saw get rather loud with the staff at several local restaurants, breweries and skating rink. The folks working for those businesses were doing the best they could with a smile on their face, but you could tell they were physically and emotionally exhausted. This decision means a lot to them!