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Head of winter carnival to step down

Associated Press

The head of the St. Paul Winter Carnival is stepping down, saying the timing for his resignation seems natural.

Robert Viking, who led the carnival since 1999, planned to announce his resignation today, according to news release sent to the media on Wednesday evening.

He said a February sexual assault allegation by the leader of the Vulcan Krewe, a costumed group of men who represent summer during the carnival, did not lead to his decision.

"There are points in everyone's life, and in every organization's, where you reach turning points, and this seems like a natural time," Viking said.

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Viking, 59, joined the winter festival as it was digging out of debt incurred during its 1992 Ice Palace festival.

During his tenure, the carnival built another Ice Palace in 2004 as part of the NHL All-Star game. That one made money and $600,000 has been set aside for future palaces and major carnival projects.

Viking said he will stay with the carnival through the summer to help the organization find a new president.

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