FROZEN, THE SEQUEL: BW Visits the 2014 McCall Winter Carnival 

The frosty fun continues through Sunday, Feb. 2.

Official poster for the 2014 McCall Winter Carnival. Artwork by Adrianne (Adri) Meckel. You may purchase one of 60 limited prints at 616 Gallery in McCall, and the original artwork will be auctioned off during the carnival. See Adri's work at Adrimeckel.wix.com/images.

Adrianne (Adri) Meckel

Official poster for the 2014 McCall Winter Carnival. Artwork by Adrianne (Adri) Meckel. You may purchase one of 60 limited prints at 616 Gallery in McCall, and the original artwork will be auctioned off during the carnival. See Adri's work at Adrimeckel.wix.com/images.

"You just watch," Tom Grote told Boise Weekly. "You just watch, and McCall will see record numbers of visitors in the next couple of days. The weather's spectacular here and the weather's terrible down in the Treasure Valley. Who wouldn't want to be here? You just watch."

And watch we did, as McCall--which shrinks to an approximate population of 1,800 full-time residents in the winter months, swelled to thousands as if it were the Fourth of July. But revelers know all too well that it's late January and it's time to celebrate all things winter.

Maybe Grote was right: Maybe it was the sun-splashed weather, maybe it was the expert snow sculptures--some of the best in recent memory; or maybe it was the joyous chaos that disguises itself as a Mardi Gras parade. Longtime McCall residents and annual visitors agreed it was probably all of the above: They had never seen such a crush of happy but sniffling faces to get a glimpse of the 2014 McCall Winter Carnival.

Grote should know; he's seen more than three decades of winter carnivals since taking the reins of the McCall Star-News in 1983. Equal parts newspaper editor and carnival fan club president, Grote held down the fort at his McCall office, eagerly handing out guides and maps of the carnival. Outside his window, just a few feet away, stood a giant ice hockey player--and we truly mean "ICE" hockey player, since the humongous defenseman was frozen solid--one of 25 ice and snow sculptures that dot McCall's landscape this week. Spectators will find a giant cupcake here, a Volkswagen bug there, a giant bear fishing for ice-carved salmon in a frozen stream, and more than a half dozen sea creatures (Nemo and SpongeBob were particular hits this year).

But 2014's real show-stopper is a Grand Prize Winner: "Pharaoh's Tomb," sponsored by the McCall Chamber of Commerce and built alongside the Hunt Lodge on McCall's Third Street. The giant sphinx is a wonder to behold, and as visitors walked inside the sphinx, exclamations of "Wow!" and "I can't believe this!" could be heard echoing from its interior. Inside the sphinx are story-high ice walls of hieroglyphics, two life-size frozen mummies and, at the center of the "tomb," a beautiful snow-sculptured sarcophagus, glowing with light.

The Pharaoh's Tomb is so dazzling, that it's hard to believe that the sculpture didn't claim the second and third place prize trophies as well. And it's so massive that it's a pretty fair bet that some of the ice will still be melting come Easter.

You can watch a full slideshow of this year's snow sculptures by clicking here.

Grand Prize Winner::Pharaohs Tomb, built alongside Hunt Lodge, 210 N. Third Street, McCall.
  • Kelsey Hawes
  • Grand Prize Winner: Pharaoh's Tomb," built alongside Hunt Lodge, 210 N. Third Street, McCall.

Grand Prize Winner :Pharaohs Tomb, built alongside Hunt Lodge, 210 N. Third Street, McCall.
  • Kelsey Hawes
  • Grand Prize Winner :Pharaoh's Tomb," built alongside Hunt Lodge, 210 N. Third Street, McCall.

Grand Prize Winner :Pharaohs Tomb, built alongside Hunt Lodge, 210 N. Third Street, McCall.
  • Kelsey Hawes
  • Grand Prize Winner :Pharaoh's Tomb," built alongside Hunt Lodge, 210 N. Third Street, McCall.
Slideshow
2014 McCall Winter Carnival Mardi Gras Parade

2014 McCall Winter Carnival Mardi Gras Parade

2014 McCall Winter Carnival Mardi Gras Parade

By Kelsey Hawes

Click to View 74 slides

Slideshow
2014 McCall Winter Carnival Snow Sculptures

2014 McCall Winter Carnival Snow Sculptures

Click to View 27 slides

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