Neither snow nor slush nor sub-zero temperatures kept American football fans from celebrating the virtual holiday that is Super Bowl Sunday as massive crowds descended on downtown Minneapolis ahead of the big game.
The town has been gripped by a carnival atmosphere for the National Football League championship game, drawing out-of-town fans of the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles plus plenty of Minnesota natives who jammed the streets despite a snow storm on Saturday and temperatures that occasionally dipped below zero Fahrenheit (minus 18 Celsius) over the weekend.
Temperatures during the game are forecast at 1 Fahrenheit, though the players and some 66,000 spectators will be warmer inside the indoor U.S. Bank Stadium.
The entertainment included a temporary ski run, a snowmobile stunt show in which daredevils soared into the air, warming fires and a concert stage where one musician had to stop the show to warm up because of freezing hands.
"I love the cold. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so there's no reason not to come out," said Devan Hunt, a 19-year-old University of Minnesota student who was waiting in line to have his picture taken inside a giant, transparent football.
There were occasional celebrity sightings, such as television's Jimmy Fallon popping up periodically, followed by gaggles of fans, their cellphone cameras raised.
Other fans took turns posing beside a statue of Mary Tyler Moore, the late actress whose eponymous show in the 1970s took place in Minneapolis.