Though Detroit Lakes' Polar Fest celebration officially wraps up this weekend, there is at least one more event still to come that pays tribute to the 2018 Ice Harvest and construction of King Isbit's Ice Palace, which formed the centerpiece of this year's Polar Fest.
The inaugural Ice Harvest 440 Vintage Snowmobile Races will be staged on the ice of Little Detroit Lake this coming Saturday, Feb. 24. According to organizer Jeff Jasperson, this new event will serve as the finale of the 2018 Central Minnesota Pond Racing series, which includes 26 categories of 1970s-vintage racing sleds, ridden by some of the best racers in the Upper Midwest and Canada.
"This race will be for the season points championship," he said, "which means we should have a pretty good turnout."
Jasperson said that each racing heat will include upwards of 10 racers, which means the total number of competitors will number somewhere between 260-300.
"We expect to have racers from from 3 or 4 different states, as well as Canada," he added. "The races are set for Saturday, Feb. 24, but we expect most of the racers and their families to arrive on Friday, and stay for the weekend."
Registration for the event is set to start at 9 a.m., with hot laps running from 9-11 a.m., and the drivers' meeting at 11:30. Racing action will get underway promptly at noon. Admission is $5, though all kids age 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.
"Our special guests will be the 1971 ROSCO racing team, which was one of the early snowmobile racing teams sponsored by Polaris," Jasperson said. "The first 100 attendees will receive an autographed photo of the team.
"We will also have the awards ceremony and after party that evening at Shorewood Pub," he added, noting that the festivities will run from 6-10 p.m. "This race is for the points championship, so we expect pretty big attendance."
Jasperson said he hopes to see both the audience and participation numbers grow significantly from year to year, though of course attendance, like any winter sport, is largely dependent on the weather.
"Snowmobile racing is a growing sport," he said, "and there is growing enthusiasm for the older, vintage snowmobiles. We're really hoping this brings lots of people to Detroit Lakes, and fills up all the local hotels."
For general information about the event, please contact Jeff Jasperson at 218-766-2940; for information about registration and team participation, please contact Mike Meagher, CMPR Sanctioning President, at 320-815-1888.