Logging into Instagram and seeing pictures of McCall Winter Carnival makes us so happy. The event’s account has been active over the last few weeks and is subtly reminding folks that there are major changes coming to the event in 2024. 

For as long as we can remember, McCall Winter Carnival has been a 10-day event starting at the end of January and stretching into the first days of February. Thousands of tourists flock to the mountain town to enjoy skiing at Brundage, the parades, fireworks over Payette Lake, snow sculptures, live music, local beers, vendors and more. Those events are what makes McCall Winter Carnival…well, Winter Carnival. 

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
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Those events will continue in 2024, but you’ll have less time to enjoy them and they’ll be moving to the END of February. Winter Carnival initially announced the changes last October but has been subtly reminding festival-goers of the change by listing the dates February 23-25, 2024 in all of the posts they made in September and October of this year. 

Why Make Such a Drastic Change?

The McCall Chamber worked very closely with businesses in town and asked them how things like the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of the 2021 event impacted their bottom line. In the past, Winter Carnival played a huge role in McCall’s economy, but 82% of the businesses that the chamber talked to said that canceling the event in 2021 didn’t negatively impact their business. In fact, 80% of those businesses said they actually fared better that year. 

Townsquare Media Boise
Townsquare Media Boise
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A few business owners said that Winter Carnival actually felt like a burden for them. Traditionally, the 10-day event draws nearly 60,000 tourists to a town that has less than 4,000 year-round residents. Trying to find enough staff to handle that sort of surge was extremely difficult. Some businesses opted to close during Winter Carnival rather than provide their guests with service below their normal standards. 

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Decision makers combined that feedback with what they found in a deep dive into McCall’s winter lodging trends and decided shortening the event and moving it to the end of February would be a better fit for McCall’s actual residents. Ultimately, that’s the name of the game for the McCall Chamber and it’s awesome to see an organization do the right thing for the people in its own community! 

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
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Organizers plan to announce this year’s theme in the next few weeks. The three-day version of the carnival will still include the Children’s Torchlight Parade, Mardi Gras Parade, snow sculpture contest, live music and fireworks show. 

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