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Organizers are hoping to attract as many as 40 kids for this year’s Boy Scouts Sled Derby. Bemidji Pioneer File Photo

Polar Daze: Sled derby event designed to attract kids

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BEMIDJI – After just a handful of kids took part in the annual Boy Scouts Sled Derby last year, planners are promoting the event on a larger scale this year, hoping to attract as many as 40 kids.

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“People in northern Minnesota embrace winter in a lot of different ways. This is just one of those fun, family events that doesn’t have a whole lot of costs involved,” said Ben Mahlke, district executive for the Noopiming District of the Voyageurs Area Council of the Boys Scouts of America.

The sled derby will be at 1 p.m. Saturday as part of the annual Polar Daze celebration throughout Bemidji. For $3, kids aged 5-12 can show off their homemade sleds as they compete for first- through third-place prizes. Every participant receives a ribbon and small prize.

“These are the types of things we need more of in our community,” Mahlke said, “opportunities to get kids outside, doing something creative, like creating your own sled.”

Sleds, up to 4 feet by 6 feet in size, must be constructed out of cardboard, plastic, wood or inner tubes. Decorations are allowed but protruding objects are not.

“It’s a great family event,” Mahlke said. “A parent and kid can make a sled together.”

He said an adult also could make his own sled to race against his child, though the adult would not be eligible for a participation ribbon or prize.

“Embrace the Polar Daze atmosphere, let’s make it more of a family activity,” Mahlke said.

Polar Daze Events

Friday, Jan. 18

5:30-9 p.m. Parent’s Night Out. Parents can drop off their children aged 3-12 (fully potty trained) to get a few hours out alone. Children will make crafts, play games and enjoy snacks. $15/child. Registration: ci.bemidji.mn.us. Class size limited to 10.

Saturday, Jan. 19

10:30 a.m. 5K Polar Challenge Run/Walk, at First Lutheran Church, Ninth Street Northwest and Bemidji Avenue North. Registration is 9-10 a.m., event begins at 10:30 a.m. $20 for race-day registration.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Chow Hound Chili Feed, fundraiser for Beltrami Humane Society at the Classic Hard Times Saloon, 119 3rd St. NW.

 11 a.m. Brrrmidji Plunge, Lake Bemidji waterfront. Participants jump into Lake Bemidji to raise money for the Bemidji Community Food Shelf and Habitat for Humanity. Registration at bemidji.mnjaycees.org. Participants must bring in a minimum of $30 in pledges. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., the Plunge begins at 11 a.m.

 1 p.m. Boy Scouts Sled Derby, outside Tourist Information Center. Kids, aged 5-12 in three age groups, build their own sleds to complete for first-, second-, and third-place prizes; all participants receive a ribbon. Sleds, to be built out of cardboard, plastic, wood or inner tubes, must be capable of sliding down the hill at least once. $3.

2 p.m. Halfway to Dragon Boars Cornhole Tournament, Hampton Inn & Suites Conference Center. Teams compete, indoors, for in the traditional summertime cornhole (bean bag toss) competition. $20 per team. Proceeds go toward a scholarship for Northwest Technical College students. Registration: evants@bemidji.org.

Thursday, Jan. 24

4 and 6 p.m. Taste of Northern Minnesota, at the Sanford Center’s George W. Neilson Convention Center. The annual event features foods from regional businesses. Same-day prices: $16 for 4 p.m. seating, $18 for late seating, $12 for seniors 60 years and older and students with valid identification.

Friday, Jan. 25

6:30 p.m. Montebello Nite Ski. 5 p.m. registration, 6 p.m. children’s 2K, then 6K classical and freestyle race. $10 for adults, $20 for families of three or more.

Saturday, Jan. 26

10 a.m. Bemidji Snowmobile Tour. Ride along local trails through Bemidji State Park. Bring your own snowmobile and helmet. Snowmobile State Trail sticker is required. 308-2300.

Noon Beaver Pride Hardwater Classic Ice Fishing Contest on Lake Bemidji. More than $20,000 in prizes. $30 adults, $20 students, $15 kids 12 and under. Registration: 2 p.m. Halfway to Dragon Boars Cornhole Tournament, Hampton Inn & Suites Conference Center. Teams compete, indoors, for in the traditional summertime cornhole (bean bag toss) competition. $20 per team. Proceeds go toward a scholarship for Northwest Technical College students. Registrationis online at evants@bemidji.org.

Thursday, Jan. 24

4 and 6 p.m. Taste of Northern Minnesota, at the Sanford Center’s George W. Neilson Convention Center. The annual event features foods from regional businesses. Same-day prices: $16 for 4 p.m. seating, $18 for late seating, $12 for seniors 60 years and older and students with valid identification.

Friday, Jan. 25

6:30 p.m. Montebello Nite Ski. 5 p.m. registration, 6 p.m. children’s 2K, then 6K classical and freestyle race. $10 for adults, $20 for families of three or more.

Saturday, Jan. 26

10 a.m. Bemidji Snowmobile Tour. Ride along local trails through Bemidji State Park. Bring your own snowmobile and helmet. Snowmobile State Trail sticker is required. 308-2300.

Noon Beaver Pride Hardwater Classic Ice Fishing Contest on Lake Bemidji. More than $20,000 in prizes. $30 adults, $20 students, $15 kids 12 and under. Registrationis online at www.hardwaterclassic.org.

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