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McCall Winter Carnival announces changes for 2021

Winter festival to focus on ice sculptures, family fun, and outdoor-recreation activities amid COVID-19.

MCCALL, Idaho — The small Idaho mountain town of McCall is gearing up for its busiest time of the year.

The McCall Winter Carnival runs from Friday, Jan. 29 through Sunday, Feb. 7.

That's when McCall, a town of around 3,000, welcomes more than 60,000 visitors.

Organizers say the essence of the Winter Carnival will remain unchanged, however, many events will be altered to keep the public safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carnival-goers can expect to enjoy snow sculptures, vendors, family fun, outdoor recreation and the small-town charm of McCall.

"At its core," said McKenzie Kraemer with the McCall Area Chamber, "Winter Carnival was started to get people outside, break the cabin fever, and build community. This is exactly what you will find this year, and something we could all definitely use."

Some things will look different in 2021. The Children's Torchlight Parade, Mardi Gras Parade, firework shows, beer garden, and Main Stage music will all be put on hold due to COVID-19.

"While we know it is disappointing to not be able to host these events," said Kraemer, "they are simply going to have to wait until we are clear of the pandemic."

Large gatherings are not permitted, however, there will be plenty to do.

The McCall Area Chamber, working in partnership with The Go Agency, a Boise-based event company, is working on new, safe events to incorporate into the 2021 McCall Winter Carnival. This includes partnering with the numerous local businesses and nonprofits that host events during the 10-day festival.

"Many events may look a bit different this year," Kraemer said, "but the spirit of Winter Carnival remains alive and well."

The McCall Winter Carnival is celebrating its 56th year and continues to attract visitors and amateur and professional snow sculptors from throughout the world.

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