Get ready for Klondike Days!
It's only a week away for the event Wisconsin Department of Tourism calls the #1 Winter Family Fun Festival in Eagle River, Wisconsin. Saturday, March 1 and Sunday, March 2 Klondike Days will fill the World Snowmobile Championship Derby Race Track, Northland Pines High School, Rocking W Stables, and the Kartway grounds with 25 separate activities to entertain, educate, thrill and delight attendees at this unique event.
Back in 1981, a winter dog run competition originated in February organized by the Tri-State Alaskan Malamute Club. With the help of Jim Tiplady and Bill Nellie, the run was held on the Lake Forest grounds and lake. The event’s major sponsor was Tuffy Dog Food and each dog team pulled an appropriate amount of dog food for the size of the team. The race was called the Eagle River Freight Race and teams would race anywhere from five to ten miles.
The event gained popularity quickly and attracted teams all over the lower 48, Alaska and Canada. By the late 80s other winter sporting events such as snowshoeing, sledding, tobogganing and skiing were added, turning the event into a true winter festival.
According to the history as told by the Klondike Days organization, the festival moved to the World Championship Snowmobile Derby track in the late 80s. In addition to more flushing out more exposure for the event, the influx of tourists would also benefit the downtown businesses.
A new name also was in order and the first idea was “Ice Fest”. This name was passed over when John Jasper, of Conover, suggested “Klondike Days”. The event reflected the history of the area steeped in Native American tradition and the, “pioneering spirit of Eagle River’s original settlers,” the history records. “The first 'Klondike Days' featured dog sled races and dog weight pulls, along with Native American programming provided by Nick Hocking’s Waswagoning Dance Theatre from Lac du Flambeau.”
It was suggested by Perry Pokrandt, who proposed the move to the Derby track, a “History of Logging” competition be held. From it roots where loggers competed by cutting, splitting and stacking wood, the present day event has 12 separate logger competitions. It is the third largest logging contest, the largest in the Midwest and the only competition of this nature held during the winter.
The crowning touch was the addition of the “a voyageur-type encampment” that is known as “River Country Red’s Rendezvous and Living History Encampment." This is a very famous and accurate reenactment of the 1800s camps.
This is the 24th year for this event that attracts thousands of attendees over the two days. The scheduled events showcase the history, diversity, talent and competitive spirit that are integral to the Northwoods lifestyle.
Brought to you by: Eliason Realty of the North, LLC www.eliasonrealty.com
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