Longtime Roseville resident crowned Winter Carnival king


courtesy of Emily and Darrin Photography The St. Paul Winter Carnival’s King Boreas LXXXIII, aka Roseville resident Monte Johnson.

Winter showed up just in time for this year’s St. Paul Winter Carnival, and to top it all off, a longtime Roseville resident was revealed as head of the event’s royal family.

Monte Johnson was crowned King Boreas LXXXIII from the Royal House of Cymbet Corporation during the carnival’s Royal Coronation event on Jan. 25, a day after the festivities kicked off.

For those fumbling with the Roman numerals, Johnson, who’s lived with his wife Mary in Roseville since 1984, is the 83rd “King of the Winds,” head of the carnival’s 21-member royal family.

Speaking in an interview prior to his coronation, Johnson joked, “You have a lobotomy and at some point in time you say yes” to taking on the volunteer role as king. 

Kings Boreas are chosen by previous kings and others within the St. Paul Winter Carnival organization. Johnson said the chairman of the festival pointed to him as someone who’d do a great job as king, and he agreed to do it.

That means that by now, he and his wife, Mary, are midway through their stay at the St. Paul Hotel for the duration of the Winter Carnival, which wraps up on Sunday, Feb. 3, with events at various locations in downtown St. Paul.

After the winter celebration, Johnson said he’ll embark on a year of being a carnival ambassador, looking at more than 400 appearances at nursing homes, schools and hospitals on behalf of the City of St. Paul and the Winter Carnival. He’ll also be hitting other festivals all over, from Macon, Georgia, to Winnipeg, to San Antonio, to celebrate community service and the other events’ volunteers.

“It’s both exciting and a little daunting,” said Johnson. “You know you’ve committed basically every weekend of the year.”

“[Mary and I have] always been involved with community service and we view this as a kind of capstone.”

Active in the St. Paul Jaycees since the 1980s, Johnson said he’s been active with Roseville Boy Scout Troop 9031 for some 30 years. He was also a part of the Roseville Central Park Foundation from 1989 to 2011, serving as its president for about half that time, and he and Mary also put three kids through Roseville Area High School.

“Roseville’s in our bones at this point in time,” Johnson said.

Roseville’s King Boreas LXXXIII won’t be the only local in the royal family. Per event organizers, Roseville’s Jim Nelson will be Euros, Prince of the East Wind.

The first St. Paul Winter Carnival was held in 1886 in reaction to an East Coast newspaper report that characterized Minnesota as another Siberia, unfit for human habitation. 

This year’s festival will compete with some daytime high temperatures forecast to be below zero, though don’t let a little cold get you down. For more information about the St. Paul Winter Carnival and a full list of all its events, go to www.wintercarnival.com.

 

–Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. 

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