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Catch Arctic Fever this weekend!

Arctic Fever
Arctic Fever

If you’ve never heard of Arctic Fever, you have a lot in store for you. This festival is in its fifth year, and is a joint effort hosted by the cities of Excelsior, Shorewood and Tonka Bay. It takes place this weekend, Jan 15 and 16.

There are some very unique activities planned. The most fun to watch or participate in might be the Bike Race on Lake Minnetonka. That’s right, a bike race – on ice. This is tomorrow, Saturday, Jan 15. Registration opens at 8am at Jake O’Connors (200 Water Street, Excelsior). Helmets are required. The course is run entirely on Lake Minnetonka, with technical sections of exposed ice, hard packed snow, and some other surprises. Studded tires are recommended. There are two classes for racers – Hardcore, which starts at noon, about 10-12 miles for men and women, with the women getting a two-minute head start; and Everybody Else, which starts at 1pm, which is about 6-8 miles. Cost is $20 to register on the day of the race. Prizes! There will also be a cross-country ski race on Lake Minnetonka, which starts at 10am on Saturday, with four different classes.

If you don’t want to race a bike on ice or watch others do it, there is plenty more. The many free activities include sledding, snow shoeing, sleigh and wagon rides, human bowling (hilarious), a puppet show, ice skating and an owl show. There is even a Medallion Hunt, with the last clue coming out today (apparently no one has found it yet?). Clues can be found on the website. And if you want to look for something a little more cuddly, you can join the Find Frosty Hunt. Each day, a local business will hide this 10 inch plush snowman. Clues for this are also on the website.

Another unique feature is the Skijorer Race. Skijoring is a skier pulled by sled dogs. This race will take place between Freeman Park in Shorewood and Manitou Park in Tonka Bay. You can also take dog sled rides, as well as ride on kick sleds. There will be a costume contest to crown an Ice Princess (all ages welcome) and many other fun and unusual activities, like snow painting, reindeer, bonfires, Nordic hiking and more. Times and locations for all activities can be found on the website.

Truly a family event, they invite you to “Celebrate winter Minnesota style!” Remember, events are spread out between Excelsior (downtown), Shorewood (mostly Freeman Park) and Tonka Bay (Manitou Park). Get out and turn that cabin fever into Arctic Fever!