Winter Carnival donations falling short
St. Paul, Minn. — (AP) - Slow fundraising has organizers of the St. Paul Winter Carnival considering cutting back on two of the carnival's most popular events, the ice-carving and snow-sculpting competitions in Rice Park.
Even if fundraising does not improve, the show will still go on, said Kate Kelly, president of the St. Paul Festival & Heritage Foundation, which puts on the carnival.
She said she might have to cut one of the competitions, restrict the number of competitors or reduce the space used.
The Winter Carnival tried to jump-start its fundraising last month by selling the 300-pound blocks of ice used for the Rice Park ice carvings. They hoped to sell 1,000 of them at $122 each, but so far have sold fewer than 300.
When asked what was to be done, Kelly said, "Buy a block."
Carnival organizers attributed their fundraising problems to a slow economy and the recent mild winters that have melted the snow and ice sculptures under the carver's noses.
The financial shortfall, said carnival historian Bob Olsen, "is nibbling away at the very essence of what the carnival is about: ice and snow."
Still, Winter Carnival master carver Larry Fischer is upbeat. He said warm weather is a bigger problem for the competition than low funding, and he predicts more cold weather is on the way.
"I don't think the competition is going to suffer much," he said.
Kelly said excluding the carving competitions, the other carnival activities are financially secure.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)