Winter Rebrand: Target Helps Stage a Warm Celebration of Minnesota Winter

January 26, 2017 - Article reads in
A hockey scene, Great Northern logo and a ski scene

Minnesota winters get a bad rap (admit it—you’re picturing a below-zero tundra right now!). But at Target, our roots run deeper than those imagined 10-foot snowdrifts: We’ve called Minnesota home since our beginning in 1962. And we think it’s high time winter got a rebrand. Imagine pond hockey and food trucks, ice sculpting and snow plow competitions. Or how about outdoor candlelight dining and movie screens made entirely of ice? It’s all happening for the next 10 days, right in our own backyard. And Target’s the proud lead sponsor for the next three years. Say hello to The Great Northern, and...

A teal image reading "Raise a mitten if you're in."For the first time, a festival unites iconic Minnesota events like the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival, the 131-year-old Saint Paul Winter Carnival and the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships under one celebration, running Jan. 26-Feb. 5. Over 350,000 people are expected to attend the dozens events across Minneapolis and St. Paul.

“Winter is a defining element of our state, and it’s time we reposition it from a liability to one of our greatest assets,” said Eric Dayton, part of The Great Northern leadership team. “The Great Northern festival is co-created by the leaders of our premier winter events and brought to life with the help of Target, one of our most beloved hometown companies. Together we aim to bring a new, annual tradition to Minnesota that promotes year-round outdoor activity and provides fun and inclusive programming for locals and visitors of all ages.”

For Target, the festival is about incredible outdoor fun, of course. But more importantly, it’s about celebrating and helping our local community thrive.

“We believe strongly in making sure that we are an active corporate citizen, and we always work to support the communities where we do business,” says Rick Gomez, Target’s chief marketing officer. “It’s been a part of Target’s brand since our founding, and nowhere is our commitment stronger than right here in our hometown. We believe in the mission behind The Great Northern and we are honored to play a role in bringing it to life for Minnesotans and visitors in the coming years.”

And it’s only going to get bigger and better from here when Minnesota takes the national stage for Super Bowl LII. In 2018, The Great Northern’s dates will align with the Super Bowl, giving thousands of national and international visitors a taste of Minnesota at its wintry best leading up to the game.

So zip up that parka, break out your boots and celebrate Minnesota winter in style! Visit for a full schedule and follow @GreatNorthern on Twitter as the adventure unfolds.

Hockey and evening skyline photos courtesy of Meet Minneapolis.

Don’t miss out on the latest Target news and behind-the-scenes happenings! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the top stories from A Bullseye View delivered straight to your inbox!