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Winter Carnival at Tech: a long-standing tradition

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Winter Carnival at Tech: a long-standing tradition

Madison Degnitz, Lode Writer

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Winter Carnival is as much a tradition at Michigan Tech as pasties are in the Upper Peninsula. With as much winter weather we get here in Houghton, there’s no point in wasting time loathing the snow. Instead, Huskies and the surrounding community celebrates it, and they have done so since the Carnival’s beginning in 1922 as a one-night show labeled the “Ice Carnival.”

It featured a circus theme, where students dressed up as animals and different performers and put on circus acts in the old Amphidrome downtown.

They continued to do the circus themes, and this eventually evolved into changing themes like we have now as the carnival grew into a longer, annual event.

The festivities have happened almost every year since, with exceptions of only a few years. For example, due to the stock market crash, Winter Carnival did not take place in 1930, and it also was not held in 1944 due to World War II.

Slowly, Winter Carnival began to grow into what we know it as today. The queen competition was added in 1928, where women were judged on their beauty, along with how good they were at certain winter sports, like skiing and ice skating.

The Blue Key National Honor Society, the student-run organization that currently hosts Winter Carnival, took over the planning of the festivities in 1934. That year also featured the addition of the dual hockey games on Friday and Saturday night and featured competitions in winter activities common to Winter Carnival now.

Two years later, in 1936, snow statues started appearing around Houghton as they were built by MTU students and children from the surrounding community. In 1946, the popular Stage Revue was added, and the following year saw the creation of the annual Beard Competition.

The Sno-Ball began in 1959, and buses brought girls to campus for the students to dance with, as females made up a small percentage of the student body, like they still do today, as is common at STEM schools.

In 1966, some students thought it would be nice to share some of the surplus of snow we get each year. They sent snowballs to students at Southwest Texas University so they could experience a snowball fight for themselves.

In contrast, for Winter Carnival in 1987, there was a lack of snow (yes, surprising!) due to light snowfall during the months preceding the festival, so dump trucks had to take snow from other locations in the UP and bring them to campus in order for students to create their snow statues.

The tug-of-war competition was added in 1993, and official IRHC broomball was added to the Michigan Tech tradition list during the 1990s as well.

Winter Carnival continues to be a beloved celebration and tradition for Michigan Tech students and community members alike. As the festivities begin and the brief break from classes start, remember to stay safe, keep warm, and have fun!

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