Come See McCall’s Winter Carnival

You step outside into a flurry of snow. Cold air rushes around you and you are sorely tempted to return to the warmth of the cafe you just left. But the hot cup of chocolate you carry keeps your hands warm, and not ten feet away is a magnificent grizzly bear, carved in packed snow. You are coming out to participate one of McCall Idaho’s greatest traditions, the Winter Carnival.


In 1924 a train full of 248 people, including Idaho’s governor, entered McCall. The citizens of McCall held a three day carnival, then called the Payette Lake Carnival, with activities including toboggan rides that went out onto the lake, dog sledding races, and ski races, among other events. The carnival was such a success that the visitors declared that it should be a yearly event. It lasted like that for about five years and then faded into an ice-break contest. Contestants would try to guess when the ice would break up and the closest guess won a prize. In 1965 the town decided to revive the Winter Carnival, as it has been known since.


McCall’s telltale sign of the Winter Carnival is the myriad of snow sculptures that border its main roads. Local businesses design and create massive bears, dragons, snowmobilers, and even iconic characters such as Buzz Lightyear. These sculptures are on display during the entire festival and winners are announced at the end. The festivities include several parades; a Mardi Gras parade, and more. Local bands perform every night on the Main Stage venue and if you feel like performing there is always a karaoke contest. Comedy nights give a wide range of activities suited for people of all ages. Fireworks at night light up the snow-covered lake. Bring your fishing poles for ice fishing and your strongest dog to compete in the Monster Dog Pull. Rent a tube or sled and go race down one of McCall’s many hills. Whatever your preference, the Winter Carnival has many exciting events to participate in.


Being a tourist based city, McCall is full of cabins and hotels. If you want to enjoy the calm privacy of a lakeside cabin, just call and reserve. For skiing and snowboarding fanatics there is lakefront lodging at the foot of Brundage ski resort. Large, luxurious hotels closer to town give you access to McCall’s quaint local businesses and keep you close to the carnival celebrations.

If you are interested in Idaho real estate, consider looking for places close to or in McCall, Idaho. Don’t forget to visit McCall during its beautiful Winter Carnival and enjoy the ice sculptures, parades, concerts, shows, and competitions. After you spend an afternoon out in the snow, visit one of McCall’s many cafes and enjoy a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. This scenic town is a year round recreational prize for anyone interested in having a good time.

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