Let the ice carving begin

Thursday is the opening ceremony for the 134th St. Paul Winter Carnival and that means the kickoff of one of the festival's signature events: the ice carving competition. The competition takes place in Rice Park. Teams have up to 48 hours to create elaborate sculptures. After the winner is chosen, the creations will stay in place throughout the duration of the festival. The Winter Carnival wraps up on Feb. 2.

St. Paul Coffee & Yoga Shop Promotes Self-Acceptance

Yoga can be intimidating, but there's a studio in St. Paul’s North End that’s all about making it accessible to everyone, no matter your ability or size. In fact the studio is considered a ‘body-positive zone.’ But this yoga spot also has a coffee bar and is giving back to the neighborhood in a big way. It’s called ‘Real Life Coffee & Yoga’ and owner Gabrielle Hruska is following her dreams by opening this welcoming spot.

Winterfest Returns to Stillwater

When it comes to winter you can either escape it or embrace it, and this weekend it’s all about celebrating the season. Winterfest returns to Stillwater for its fourth year. The event runs January 18th - 26th and the activities include everything from The Frozen Flannel Curling Tournament, a Keg Toss, Parka Pub Crawl and even a casserole cook-off.

U.S. Bank Stadium opens its doors to skaters & runners

The Winter Warm-Up event has returned to U.S. Bank Stadium. There are five recreational fitness nights left, the next being Wednesday, January 15th. These events are open to people ages five and up. Inline skaters use the main concourse and runners are on the upper concourse. They run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Some Minnesota favorite things for Oprah

What do you give someone who has everything? That someone is Oprah and she was in St. Paul this weekend for her '2020 Vision' tour. The Xcel Energy Center always presents its guests a fabulous gift and Oprah is no exception. For this gift basket they reached out to some of our favorite Minnesota makers including illustrator Adam Turman, who’s no stranger to creating art for visiting celebrities.

The magic of the Ice Castles returns to the Twin Cities

The Ice Castles return for the 6th year in Minnesota, but they have a new home in New Brighton’s Long Lake Regional Park. Opening on Friday the 17th, the interactive experience spans an acre and features ice-carved tunnels, fountains, slides, frozen thrones, and cascading towers of ice embedded with color-changing LED lights. Ice Artisans have been working on the castle for the last six weeks.

Embrace the Elements at Winter Trails Day

This weekend is your chance to experience the great outdoors; Minnesota style. Whether it's fat-tire biking, snowshoeing or ice fishing, Winter Trails Day has you covered. It’s Saturday, January 11th from 11-4pm at Fort Snelling State Park. All the equipment is provided and demonstrators are on hand to help. There’s hot chocolate and s’mores along with a line-up of food trucks. The event is free but it does cost $7 for a Minnesota State Parking tag.

A new Zoo has come to Maplewood Mall

For almost 20 years the Pilz family has been running a small zoo in Scandia called Cock-a-doodle Zoo. They specialized in animal education taking their animals all over the metro to places like schools, daycares, senior facilities and the Renaissance Festival. Now they’ve moved into a new permanent location at the Maplewood Mall. The 11,000 square foot zoo has 25 unique species from Kangaroos and lemurs to alligators and an African Porcupine. The zoo is located on the 2nd floor next to the former Sears store.

Two Twin Cities marching bands preparing for the big stage

We are just one day away from seeing the Minnesota Gophers face the Auburn Tigers in the Outback Bowl. And you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled during the halftime show because two Minnesota high school marching bands will be performing, Robbinsdale Armstrong and Edina. FOX 9 caught up with the students as they got in one last practice before taking off for Tampa.

Outback Bowl to feature two local high school marching bands

Not only will the Outback Bowl feature the Minnesota Gophers, but two local high school marching bands will be playing the halftime show. Robbinsdale Armstrong and Edina are in Tampa, Florida for the big game. It’s an experience the band directors had to apply for well before they knew who would be playing in the game, but it’s the perfect outcome for the Marching Band Director, Andy Richter, who is not only an Edina alum, but also a former drum major at the University of Minnesota.

Local landmarks reimagined in gingerbread at Minneapolis' Norway House

Some of the Twin Cities most recognizable landmarks including the St. Paul Cathedral and Glensheen Mansion, have been reimagined using gingerbread. The Gingerbread Wonderland exhibit is back for the fifth year at the Norway House in Minneapolis. Everyone from your favorite local bakeries and cake wizards, to families and first-time gingerbread baking enthusiasts entered their dream cookie creations. The exhibit runs through Jan. 5.

New Food Hall Opens in North Loop Neighborhood

The North Loop neighborhood just got four more eateries. They're inside a new food hall that was created to be a launch pad for new restaurant concepts from local chefs. Detroit-style pizza, the original chicken wrib and Hawaiian plate lunch are just some of the new options at the North Loop Galley. Open seven days a week, the hall is in the Nordic Building at 729 Washington Ave North.

Union Depot Christmas Market Named Top Ten in the USA

Union Depot’s European Christmas Market was just named one of the Top Ten Holiday Markets in the country by USA Today. The market is in its 6th year and transforms the East Plaza into a charming, traditional European experience. The popular attraction has more than 30 vendors, including the locally created Globe Ice Lantern Kits. The market runs weekends through Dec. 22.

Unique Show Celebrates the Soundtrack to ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

This weekend you can experience a first-of-its-kind project celebrating the music of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. And it makes sense that this concept would spring to life in St. Paul, the hometown of Peanuts Creator, Charles Schultz. The idea comes from Erinn Liebhard, the artistic director of Rhythmically Speaking, a non-profit social dance group. They’ve teamed up with a jazz quartet to bring the soundtrack of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ to life. There are four shows taking place at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall.

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play returns to Saint Paul Hotel for 14th year with same cast

It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, is back for the 14th year at The Saint Paul Hotel with the same cast they had on day one. That includes their sound effects master, Chris Whiting. He creates hundreds of sounds that truly bring the show to life using everything from a plunger to roller skates and M&M’s. The play runs through Christmas Eve but is sold out for the season. Tickets for next year’s run go on sale in the summer.

Reindeer farm keeps Glencoe family busy

Tucked just west of the Twin Cities in Glencoe, is a working reindeer farm. Bob Kendall raises and trains reindeer for holiday events. In fact, you've probably seen one of the Kendallville reindeer posing for pictures or pulling Santa’s sleigh. We visited the farm to learn more about this majestic creature.

The Holidazzle returns!

It’s time to make some memories, holiday style! Holidazzle is back in Loring Park. Some of this season’s new additions include glass blowing demos on Friday nights, story time with Santa, Sunday brunch and a 20-foot interactive art Yeti. Holidazzle runs Thursdays through Sundays through December 22nd.

Since 1975 the Landing Shop has been a holiday destination

If you're looking for a good alternative to traditional stores as you do your holiday shopping, one spot to check out is ‘The Landing Shop.’ The city of Minnetonka has run the store as a recreational activity for the city's seniors since 1975. There are more than 75 featured crafters and they all take turns running the register throughout the year.

Arboretum all aglow for the holidays

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is getting into the holiday spirit. On Thursday night, they will light up their 25-foot poinsettia holiday tree and unveil their winter lights walking tour. The botanical-themed display is about a half-mile long and includes 14 vignettes. FOX 9’s Shayne Wells has a preview of the event. Winter Lights runs Nov. 22-Jan. 5, 5-9 p.m. (plus Dec. 23, daily Dec. 26-Jan. 5)

The Mall of America is getting a lot sweeter

There's another new eatery at the Mall of America. It's a name you might know already if you follow celebs like Drake, Mariah Carey and the Kardashians on Instagram. The Sugar Factory owes its success to creating 'wow' moments with their over-the-top drinks and desserts.