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Ice castles, 'RuPaul' happy hour (and other free things to do this week)

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This week in free things to do we have an epic festival, a sporting championship, a drag happy hour, and an art party. Come take a look and plan your week.

Darrin Johnson

Darrin Johnson

Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Various Locations
With an influx of visitors expected for the Super Bowl, the organizers of the 2018 Saint Paul Winter Carnival are more determined than ever to demonstrate the festive side of our frozen climes with expanded events and dates. The celebration will mark its 132nd season with its three signature parades -- the Moon Glow Pedestrian (happening Thursday night), the King Boreas Grand Day, and the Vulcan Victory Torchlight -- as well as such popular standards as the coronation of winter royalty, a winter fun run, and ice carving and snow sculpting contests, also kicking off tonight. A more recent highlight, the Autonomous Snow Plow Competition, returns to challenge young minds to devise robotic innovations. Of the many new attractions, the U.S. Olympic Committee-sponsored Team USA Winterfest aims to draw attention to the 2018 Winter Games with the help of former Olympians and activities such as “bobsled boomerang.” Rice Park will once again serve as the carnival’s main stop, where the snow-encrusted environs will be adorned with a garden of ice statuettes, a giant ice castle (opening Thursday night), and live music all three weekends. Even more fun can be discovered at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds where the Vulcan Snow Park offers two Polar Plunges, a giant snow slide, and lawn mower and bar stool ski races. Many of these events are completely free. For complete prices and event schedules, see the official website, www.wintercarnival.com, or call the main hotline at 651-223-7400 for details. Through February 10 --Brad Richason

Image courtesy event organizers

Image courtesy event organizers

U.S. Pond Hockey Championship
Lake Nokomis
Yeah, the Super Bowl is pretty cool and all, but can we talk about the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships for a second? It’s a pretty big deal, and it happens right here in the Twin Cities every year at Lake Nokomis. It all started when founder Fred Haberman noticed a bunch of guys playing hockey on Lake of the Isles. “Obviously, Minnesota should have a pond hockey tournament,” he thought, “since so many folks here grow up playing the sport.” So he started one, and it’s grown exponentially since the first tournament in 2006. Under new ownership since 2010, the event attracts world-class players from all over the U.S. and Canada, and it’s completely free to watch. The four-day competition is divided into a number of different divisions, from professional to amateur, with men’s leagues, women’s leagues, co-ed leagues, and leagues for those who are 40-plus. Whether you participate or just watch the show, it’s a great celebration of the way hockey is supposed to be played: on a pond (er... lake). For complete game schedules, see the official U.S. Pond Hockey website: www.uspondhockey.com. 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free. 5001 Lake Nokomis Pkwy. W., Minneapolis. Through Sunday —Sheila Regan

RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 3
The Saloon
RuPaul’s Drag Race is back for another installment; this season is the third iteration of the All Stars editions. Whether you’re living cable-free or just like cheap booze, the Saloon will be throwing weekly parties where you’ll be able to keep up with the show, as it will be screened on 21 (?!) TVs in the bar/restaurant/dance club. If that’s not enough, you’ll also find it on three large projection screens. With this camaraderie comes a pretty solid happy hour: Rail drinks, domestic beers, Prairie vodka and gin cocktails will set you back a mere $3.50. Should you get hungry, there’s a chicken nugget basket for the same price. Be sure to RSVP at [email protected] for the chance to win a $50 bar tab and a bottle of Prairie booze. 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday. Free. 830 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612-332-0835. --Jessica Armbruster

John Schuerman

John Schuerman

The Human Anomaly
Gordon Parks Gallery
Having long curated shows that focus our attention on evergreen topics such as gun violence, environmental destruction, and technological disruption -- including works by such influential national artists as Sue Coe -- John Schuerman now has his own exhibition of mixed-media drawings. The exquisite precision of his detail rivals Durer’s engravings; his collage-like assemblages of cut outs, shape, and line challenge our perceptions of Baudrillard’s simulacra and simulation; the patterns generate new locations in time and space. Beautiful to look at, the works boldly test our capacity to behold. There will be an opening reception and artist talk from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 25. Free. 645 E. Seventh St., Library and Learning Center, Metropolitan State University, St. Paul; 651-793-1631. Through February 2 --Camille LeFevre