Winter Carnival Memories

Winter Carnival began at Michigan Tech in 1922 and has been organized by Blue Key Honor Society since 1934.

With nearly 100 years of history, our students have built an amazing tradition that carries on.

The most recognizable aspect of Carnival is the building of snow statues around campus and community.

What are some of your favorite memories of Winter Carnival? What statues did you help build? Leave us a comment below!

Visit the Winter Carnival website for details and some of the history behind the event.


13 Comments on "Winter Carnival Memories"

  • John M. Helge
    January 12, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    I was honored to serve as President of MTU Blue Key for the 1976 Winter Carnival. This was the first year that we connected with businesses in the Copper Country to solicit their help in funding and getting them more involved in all the events. The members of the Blue Key honor fraternity took responsibility for planning and executing all the events from statues, to skits, to broomball, to the Queen contest, and many more. It should also be noted that the first time women were selected for Blue Key membership was in the spring of 1976 and the subsequent Winter Carnivals have just gotten better and better over the years!

  • Jim Bailey
    January 12, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    In my day (the ’50s) I preferred the “Carnival Elves” statues that we created at the old Kappa Delta Psi house, then at 1110 College Ave. Jim Wilson was our best sculptor. There used to be a photo of one of our elves in the Union Building, but I haven’t found it there in recent trips to Houghton. (Current Union is much bigger with many more hallways than “my” Union in the ’50s.)

  • Michael Anderson
    January 12, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    I worked on a “One Nighter” labeled “Bad Time for Bare/Bear Behind. This was between 1977 and 1980. We got our picture in book and maybe honorable mention. It was a lot of fun.

  • Loree Kalliainen
    January 12, 2021 at 6:29 pm

    I helped with the Ford Assembly line statue at the Sigma Tau Gamma house around 1985 or 1986. My job was using a curling iron to make a bucket of nails.

  • Fred Krueger
    January 12, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    Forestry Club, 69 and 70, real hard to drink cold beer when it was so cold. The best is that I will never forget the good old days at Tech. Fred Krueger 71

  • Larry PIeniazek
    January 12, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    Delta Sig here ’77-’83 … I worked on several statues including All-ice in Winterland (with a 30′ tall Alice), and “b-b-b-but Bugs, this Sphinx stinks!” with a very tall Pepe Le Pew/Sphinx… my specialty was tables and tablecloths, as well as accessories (Mad Hatter’s tea party table and cups/plates/saucers, the pharoah’s sarcophagus and symbols of office, etc. and of course.. ironing things) Back in those days Delta Sigma Phi was always a contender for winning Carnival overall, and we actually did win it more than once.

  • Judy Hooper Buonocire
    January 12, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    I worked on a one nighter during the classics brought to ice Theme in the early 80’s. Phi Gamma Nu built a Wizard of Oz statue – Dorothy in hiking boots with Toto in the basket. My favorites were the Ford assembly line, a pub scene from the three musketeers and The Wizard of Id meets Hagar the Horrible (near Wadsworth hall in front of the Frat that was behind the Hall).

  • P Harris
    January 12, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    A friend and I made the one-nighter “Playboy plaque” in front of DHH in the late 1960’s. Also prepared vast quantities of popcorn and hot cocoa for those working on the DHH statue. Winter Carnival was a great time to avoid the “books” for a few days.

  • Rodney Cencich
    January 14, 2021 at 11:27 am

    I was at Tech for the 66-67 Winter Carnival and some of the statues had a definite war theme. I worked on the ROTC statue that had two soldiers in a fox hole with the caption “Christmas Truce?” I returned to Tech six years later, after serving 4 years in the Navy and found the statues less political.

  • Robert Drake
    January 15, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    I worked with my brother on a statue for the Independents Club. We were both “locals”. It was the Hansel and Gretel
    with Witch one. It took 2nd place, which was disappointing. The year was 1964.

  • Tom Kugler
    February 11, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    I remember my sophomore year in 1982 when a snow statue in front of Sherman Gym included a pool table. We had a one day warm-up in early spring to about 70F and people were getting a sun tan on top of the pool table. It got so warm that the run-off on Mt. Ripley did a lot of damage as well as down some of the streets in Houghton.

  • Carl Craven
    February 11, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    During a memorable snow storm on the return trip to Houghton after Thanksgiving break in 1985, I was hit from behind by a student from Northern. It bent the bumper on my truck. I drove around that way for over a year, until one night, working on the statue for Lambda Chi Alpha, we decided that one of the figures was not turning out as planned, so we decided to knock it over and start again. It was suggested that I just back my truck into it, to knock it over. Lo and behold, the impact returned by bumper to it’s original position! Problem solved!

  • Bill Robertson
    February 17, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Bill Robertson, ChEng, 59
    2/17/21

    55-59. The first year or two I worked on statues with the chemical engineering club, then thru 59 with my Delta Sig
    brothers. It was before the new frat house and there was no room to build at 218 Blanche so we also built ours down near the Union and DHH, and the new dorm. Also helped a little with the AFROTC effort in front the the old house that housed both Army and AF ROTC detachments. Yes, the good old memories, Doc Bredekamp, Tom Ruby, Ed Meese, etc. I hope to get back up there, perhaps one more time, soon. Bill

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