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The Wisconsin Union team will hold Winter Carnival with in-person and virtual events Feb. 3-7

Posted: 01/25/21

The Wisconsin Union team will hold Winter Carnival with in-person and virtual events Feb. 3-7

The Wisconsin Union’s Winter Carnival will return Feb. 3-7 with new events to help attendees enjoy the outdoors during Wisconsin’s winter season while practicing physical distancing and other public health guidance related to COVID-19.

The Wisconsin Union team invites all, including UW-Madison students, staff and faculty, Wisconsin Union members, and guests, to experience the Carnival. Some events and activities require pre-registration and have limited capacities.

This season, some community favorites will return with changes to ensure the health and safety of patrons in light of COVID-19.

During past Carnivals, the team has placed inflatable portions of Lady Liberty on Lake Mendota; instead, this year, the team will host a new Winter Lady Liberty DIY Contest. The Union team invites participants to create Lady Liberty out of any materials and to submit photos of their creations to the Wisconsin Union team by messaging or tagging the Wisconsin Union on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or by completing this Google Form between Feb. 3 and Feb. 14.

The Wisconsin Union team has added a new, free experience to the 2021 Winter Carnival: an Ice Fishing Derby on Feb. 6 from noon-7 p.m. Patrons can participate as competitors or as learners in the Union’s first ever educational fishing competition. The Union team will provide equipment and free hot chocolate for participants.

The Carnival will include a flurry of additional events throughout the week, including the following:

  • Virtual Flannel Day, Feb. 3: The first 50 people to submit a photo of themselves in a flannel via a form here on Feb. 3 will receive a coupon for a small order of deep fried cheese curds from der Rathskeller in Memorial Union.
  • Avalanche Awareness Workshop, Feb. 3, 8-10 p.m.: Individuals can learn about avalanches, including gear, how to avoid avalanche terrain, and training.
  • Terrace Sweatshirt Bundle Up Sale, Feb. 3-7: The Wisconsin Union team will offer a 20 percent discount on new sweatshirts in its online Terrace Store and is currently offering free shipping on most store items for a limited time. 
  • Sledding, Feb. 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. or Feb. 4, 3 p.m.-Feb. 5 with sled drop-off on Feb. 5 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.: The Hoofer Ski and Snowboard Club will provide University of Wisconsin-Madison students with rental sleds and maps of sledding spots at the UW-Madison campus. 
  • Snowshoe Rentals: hourly rentals for $5 per hour, pick-up on Feb. 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; 10 percent discount on weekend rentals, pick-up on Feb. 5 from 9 a.m.-noon and drop-off by Feb. 9
  • Adventure Learning Programs (ALPs) Virtual Scavenger Hunt, Feb. 4, 6-8 p.m.: ALPs will host a web-based scavenger hunt of puzzles, brain teasers and more. 
  • Free Art Friday, Feb. 5, 1 p.m., while supplies last: Wheelhouse Studios invites community members and visitors to get crafty with take-to-make snowman luminary kits.
  • Lakefront Ice Climbing, Feb. 5, 3-5 p.m.: Hoofer Mountaineering Club members will share the basics of ice climbing on an ice block set up by Memorial Union.
  • Night Snowshoe Hike on Lake Mendota, Feb. 5, 4-5:30 p.m.: Attendees can join the Hoofer Outing Club for a physically distanced snowshoe experience on Lake Mendota.
  • Nordic Skiing 101, Feb. 6, noon-1 p.m. and 1:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m.: Hoofer Outing Club members will lead an introductory, hands-on Nordic skiing lesson. 
  • Student Leadership Program (SLP) Scavenger Hunt, Feb. 6, noon-5 p.m.: SLP will host a scavenger hunt around various campus locations, such as Alumni Park and the Memorial Union Terrace. This event is presented by Associated Students of Madison, SLP at UW-Madison, and the Wisconsin Union.
  • Kites on Mendota, Feb. 6-7, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: Guests can enjoy the sight of large show kites on Lake Mendota. Kites on Mendota is produced by the Clean Lakes Alliance, with support from the Wisconsin Union and the Edgewater Hotel.
  • Curling Tournament, Feb. 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: UW-Madison students can take part in a curling tournament on Lake Mendota for the chance to win a championship t-shirt. This event is presented by University Recreation and Wellbeing and the Wisconsin Union. 

“Wintertime presents many unique opportunities to be outside and stay active, some of which people can experience during our Winter Carnival,” Outdoor UW Director Joe Webb said. “We have held Winter Carnivals for more than 80 years, but this year required a whole new level of creativity that our team was happy to take on to make the Carnival possible.”

Winter Carnival events are subject to change. For the most up to date Winter Carnival information, including registration links, visit

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