Winter carnival brings a much needed break to UWEC students

A week of excitement comes to UW-Eau Claire in the form of crafts, performances and food

Kyra Price

More stories from Kyra Price

Across the Pond
May 9, 2024


Dog sledding has been a Winter Carnival event for years.

The Winter Carnival is an event that comes around once a year for UW-Eau Claire students to bring a little joy in the middle of the long, cold winter. This year, the carnival ran from Monday, Feb. 14 until Saturday, Feb. 19. The carnival was packed with a variety of events from food,  crafts and performances.

On Valentine’s Day, the festival offered a Valentine’s Day themed craft in Davies Marketplace, according to Emma Packard, a second year ISC-Public Relations major student and UAC Festivals Chair.

For the Valentine’s Day craft bag we included candy, origami paper with instructions on how to make an origami heart and a coloring page,” Packard said.

The carnival has plenty of food to offer, too. On Tuesday, Feb. 15, free chili was served outside of Davies, with regular and vegetarian options available. Cider and hot chocolate were served in the same place the next day. 

First year elementary education major Lillian Peerenboom had a chance to give the free chili a try. She said that she was still hungry after her meal of pasta, so the chili hit the spot.

The winter carnival offered students some opportunities for adventure as well. Two events took place the next day on Feb. 17. Students could try out free dog sled rides from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in Towers Field according to the UWEC website. Peerenboom said that she had never tried dog sledding before, and would probably never try it again.

From 12-10:30 p.m. students could put their skills to the test at the Winter RecXperience in Hilltop and McPhee according to the UWEC website. Students could boulder and do glow group fitness, as well as give snowshoes and fat-tire bikes a try, or sign up to go snow tubing.

For students whose talents lean toward the arts, open mic night was Feb. 18 at 6:00 p.m. in The Cabin, according to the UWEC website. Students could sign up to read poetry, sing, perform comedy and more.

According to Packard, many of the winter carnival events are long-standing traditions. The dog sledding event, for example, has been around for decades. Students had the opportunity to try traditions such as the chili, and showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

All events were free except for the Rocky Horror Picture Show which was $3 for students and $5 for the public. The Rocky Horror Picture was shown at 11:45 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the Ojibwe Ballroom. This year, as part of the tradition, participants came dressed as their favorite characters, and props were provided.

Planning for the winter carnival started last semester before winter break. It required coordination from dining services, and the dog sledding crew. It also required coordination from other UAC committees including concert and film to make the event a success.

“We don’t have exact numbers for a lot of the events because many things were grab and go,” Packard said.  “But we made about 80 craft bags, ordered chili and hot cocoa for 250 people, had 83 people dog sled, and had over 70 people come to Rocky Horror.”

Packard said she enjoyed many of the carnival events herself. 

“My favorite events from last week [were] dog sledding and the hot cocoa and apple cider giveaway, especially because it was nice to chat with other students and take a ride in the dog sled,”  Packard said.

Price can be reached at [email protected].