Dakota Datebook

Winter Carnival

Thursday, January 2, 2014


The city of Fargo held its annual Winter Carnival on this day in 1928. Fargo’s Park Board sponsored the event, and several local groups donated prizes to be awarded during the carnival. Featuring skating, skiing, and dog-sled racing events, the carnival was an all-day event consisting of both a daytime and a nighttime program. Skiing and dogsled races were held during the morning, and figure skating and skating races were held during the evening. A costume contest was also included in the festivities, which were held in and around the ice-skating rink located in Fargo’s Island Park. The park was decorated with thousands of lights in preparation for the event.

Although the day’s temperature reached six below zero, over one thousand people attended the carnival. It was reported that the cold weather reduced the number of overall entrants in some of the events, and that some of the scantier skating outfits proved much less comfortable because of it, but, despite this, organizers maintained that the carnival was an overwhelming success. Two huge bonfires were kept blazing next to the ice rink to help keep participants warm throughout the day. Trophies and medals were awarded to first, second, and third place winners in each event, but prizes also included “…skating socks, mufflers, gloves, sweaters, scarves, pencils, skates, archery sets, a basketball, and a sled.” Over one hundred skaters participated, but the highlight of the figure skating events proved a performance by Dr. Goswitz and his sister. Dr. Goswitz was known throughout the area for his skating expertise, and he was on hand throughout the day to give free lessons. He and his sister appeared often as the half-time entertainment during professional hockey games in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The evening portion of the carnival was opened with a costume parade in which all of the entrants of the contest skated around the rink several times. The prize for ‘best group of skaters’ went to a group of twenty girls who appeared in costume as a bridal party, complete with bride, groom, and attendants. The bride and her attendants all carried flower bouquets as the group “skated through a bridal march around the rink.” Fargo’s winter carnival was an annual New Year’s event until the late 1950’s, when it was last celebrated, but in 2003, the Fargo Theatre resurrected the event by holding their first Winter Carnival. Eighteen bands played and several artists performed long into the night for the event, once again celebrating winter in downtown Fargo.



The Fargo Forum (Morning ed.). January 1, 1928: p. 1, 2.

The Fargo Forum (Morning ed.). January 3, 1928: p. 1, 4.



Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job


This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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