UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. — The Loop Ice Carnival returns on Saturday for its 17th year. This family-friendly free event showcases local talents in the University City Delmar Loop neighborhood with over 40 ice sculptures on display.

What You Need To Know

  • Loop Ice Carnival returns to University City features over 40 ice sculptures

  • No matter the weather, this event has never had to cancel

  • The colder the weather, the longer the sculptures last

With ice as the primary subject for this event, the weather plays a big role in its success. Jessica Bueler, of the Loop Special Business District, helps me understand how they prepare for various weather situations.

Ideal weather

Climatologically, this time of the year is the coldest, and at the end of January, afternoon highs hover around 40 degrees, which Bueler says is ideal. “This makes it warm enough for families to come out and check out all the amazing ice art and free family-friendly activities, while also preserving the ice sculptures throughout the day.”  

Setup begins before sunrise, the coldest part of the day. “We start setting up all of the ice sculptures at 6 a.m. as long as the weather is cold and clear (no rain). If there is any drizzle, we will wait to set up the sculptures a few hours later so that they hold their shape and last as long as possible.”

Throughout its 17-year span, the event has withstood extreme warmth, temperatures reaching the 60s, to extreme cold. But as she tells me, This is a ‘snow or shine’ event. No matter the temperatures, we will roll with it."

She adds, "St. Louis has some of the most unpredictable weather in the country, so we will have an amazing event no matter how the weather treats us.”

The Lynn boys enjoy the Loop Ice Carnival in University City, Missouri in Jan. 2020. (Spectrum News/Stacy Lynn)

Weather extremes

In fact, the warmest year for the carnival occurred in 2013 when the mercury hit 65 degrees. The event went on as usual; the only difference was the ice sculptures melted faster. However, people still attended, maybe more so, thanks to the unseasonably warm weather.

As for the coldest, the year prior, in 2012, the high temperature only reached 15 degrees. Despite the cold, it was still a well-attended event.

Turkey bowling at the Loop Ice Carnival in 2020. (Spectrum News/Stacy Lynn)

The forecast for the 2017 Loop Ice Carnival kept them on their toes. “We had the ‘snowpocalypse’ scare, as a snowstorm and ice storm of epic proportions was forecasted. Luckily, the storm missed us and we were able to carry on with a temperature of 32 degrees.”

Highlights for 2024

There will be live ice carving demonstrations, a temporary tattoo scavenger hunt, $1,000 in ice cubes giveaway, free face painting, and even a live drone show after the sun sets. She also says not to miss the fire performers who will do fire breathing, fire eating and flaming hula hoops in the evening. 

New this year is a special guest, Louie, the lovable St. Louis Blues Mascot, who will be making special appearances throughout the day. Plus, you can test your skills at the Blues Street Team Slap Shot Game. 

Thanks to an arctic air mass in place, this might rival the Loop Ice Carnival of 2012 and be one of the coldest, if not the coldest, since its inception. Plenty of sunshine is expected for this event, but temperatures will struggle to rise above the mid-teens.

Factor in some breezes and it will feel more like it's below zero. The event, which begins at 11 a.m., will go on as planned despite the chill of the air. Just be sure to dress appropriately.  

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