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It's not just sled dog races this year: Frazee packs plethora of winter events into this weekend

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501

Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

In the 15 years since Frazee’s first official Third Crossing Sled Dog Rendezvous was held in 1999, roughly one-third of the races have had to be rescheduled, or cancelled altogether, because of less than ideal snow conditions.

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This year, however, both the track and the weather forecast for Saturday’s races appear to be about as close to perfect as they can get, according to Frazee Sled Dog Club President Neal Seeger.

“The temperature should be just right for us Saturday, in the teens,” Seeger said. “There’s plenty of snow on the track — in fact, it might actually be a little too deep in spots.”

Organizers are hoping the weather conditions will bring in a few last-minute entries to boost their pre-race participation numbers; as of the official Feb. 15 registration deadline, only 15 teams had signed up.

That’s less than half the number that the club was hoping for, Seeger said; they had anticipated bringing in around 40 teams for the various racing categories.

“We’ve got a four-dog sportsman’s class, which is four miles, and skijoring with one and two dog teams that will be about 3½ miles,” Seeger said. “We’ve got a six-dog sprint slated but we only have one entry so far, so don’t know if that’ll actually happen.

“The last event would be the six-dog mid-distance race. We wanted to get in about a 20-mile trail, but we only had three people sign up before the deadline, so we’re going to back that down to about 15 miles so we can manage it a little better.”

And while late registrations will be accepted, there will be a penalty fee for waiting until the last minute this year, Seeger added — unlike past years, where registrations were accepted up until race time without any extra fee charged.

“There’s still plenty of room (for more teams), if they’re willing to pay the penalty,” Seeger said, noting that the penalty was added this year as an incentive to encourage early registration.

“We can’t just sit and wait until the last minute for people to show up,” he explained, noting that it’s important to have some idea of how many teams will be there in order to set up the start times.

All races will begin with a mass start, with the competition slated to get underway at 10 a.m., and conclude by 4 p.m. at the absolute latest.

That will give the competitors plenty of time to get over to the Frazee Event Center for the awards ceremony. The venue for the ceremony was changed from the Hostel Hornet restaurant to the Event Center, because of all the other events happening at the Event Center throughout the day.

The Frazee Go-Getters have organized a “Cabin Fever Extravaganza” in conjunction with the sled dog races, with a plethora of indoor and outdoor activities slated to take place throughout the day, both out at the race site, and at the Event Center.

Out at the race site, which is located off County Highway 10 near the city lagoons, there will be dog sled rides given for a small fee.

But the sled dogs won’t be the only ones getting a workout. There will be several downhill sledding competitions going on throughout the day as well.

Part of the sledding competition will include building a homemade sled. The sled need not be the fastest sled or even functional; the only real requirement for this competition is that the entry resemble a sled in some fashion — the more creative the better, according to event coordinator Barbie Porter.

Registration for the sled building contest starts at 9 a.m., with judging at 10:15 a.m.

The sled events will then turn to downhill races at 11 a.m. Teams of four will use a pre-built sled in a downhill relay race.

Winners of the sled-building contest and the downhill races will be announced at 2 p.m. at the race site. Both events are free to enter and will be hosted by the Frazee Cub Scouts. Any donations will be gladly accepted and used to fund future scouting events.

The Scouts also encourage race spectators and sledding participants to bring a non-perishable food item which will be given to the local food bank.

All donors will be given a ticket for a special drawing, with donated prizes from the Back Yard Station, Zee Lanes and Ketter’s Meat Market.

Back at the Frazee Event Center, a craft fair offering a variety of knick-knacks, health products, fashionable accessories and more will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be several local vendors, including Vergas resident Cheri Rheault, who will offer Scentsy products, while Frazee’s own Kati Ketter will share all there is to know about Young Living Essential Oils.

The inaugural Cabin Fever Art Crawl will also feature pieces of artwork on display at the Event Center. Other artworks will be on display at the Hostel Hornet, Yak Shack and Hair Style Studio, all on Frazee’s Main Avenue.

Six area artists will display their work in the event, including Howard Elijah, Pat Shannon, Jerry Sondag, Briana Schepper, Carmen McCullough and Barbie Porter.

Maps and voting instructions will be located at the Hostel Hornet.

From 4:30 to 6 p.m., pet owners are invited to bring their four-legged friends in to the Event Center for a unique photo shoot, in which the master will become a musher and their dog will be placed in front of an authentic sled.

There will be three sleds offered to use with a mushing backdrop scene, from extra small to large. Photos will cost $5, with proceeds going to the Frazee Sled Dog Club.

All photos will be posted on the Frazee Go Getters’ Facebook page for owners to retrieve.

At 5 p.m. a noodle cook-off will begin, hosted by the Frazee Lions. Area chefs are asked to “use their noodles” to create a delicious dish featuring some form of noodle as its focus.

All chefs can enter their entree, soup or dessert for free. The dishes should be brought to the Frazee Event Center, ready to go, anytime between 4 and 5 p.m.

The public will get to sample the entries, for a nominal charge, and cast their votes for the coveted People’s Choice Award.

While the crowd is busy devouring the delicious noodle dishes, a variety show will add to the entertainment, starting at 6 p.m.

There is no charge to attend the show, which will feature performances from a church choir and a renowned local singer and his daughter, demonstrations from martial artists and more.

The variety show will wrap up shortly after 7 p.m., allowing visitors plenty of time to enjoy the other festivities.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

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