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Polar Daze: Winter traditions run strong in Bemidji

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Polar Daze: Winter traditions run strong in Bemidji
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

January brings Brrrmidji Polar Daze, a weeklong celebration of the joys of winter in the North Country.

Polar Daze grew out of early Winter Carnival celebrations, at least one of which featured an ice palace on Lake Bemidji.

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Most events, except where noted, will take place on the Lake Bemidji waterfront.

The week will start Saturday, Jan. 15, with the 5K Polar Challenge Run/Walk, a Polar Plunge for charity into the freezing waters of Lake Bemidji, and a homemade sled derby and snowman building contest in Library Park.

As the week continues, the Taste of Northern Minnesota - a chance to sample the finest food from more than 25 local exhibitors - will offer some indoor pleasures. For the first time, the Taste will be held in The Sanford Center Ballroom.

The 5K cross country Montebello Niteski on the Lighted Trail will be Friday, Jan. 21, and the week will conclude with Beaver Hockey.

New this year will be the revival of the snow sculpture/snowman contest from 3-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15 in Library Park.

"I've been planning on doing the snowman contest," said Samantha Parker, Bemidji Parks and Recreation coordinator. "Polar Daze - I thought that would be great."

Judging will be held at 4 p.m. with the winner announced at 4:15 p.m. Participants are invited to show off their perfect snowmen during the first Snowman Building Contest. Entry is free and prizes will be awarded to the most creative, classic and best looking snowmen in the contest. Supplies will be limited, so participants should bring their creativity and whatever supplies they may need.

Also new this year is a fundraiser for the Beltrami Humane Society, the Great Chowhound Chili Feed from 3-7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16, at the Bemidji Eagles Aerie. For a free-will donation participants can enjoy all the chili and cornbread they can eat. There will also be live music and silent auction.

Saturday, Jan. 15

E 9 a.m. - Registration for the 5K Polar Challenge Run/Walk, Tourist Information Center, 300 Bemidji Ave. N., or Bemidji.org. Sponsored by Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and the Bemidji Pioneer.

E 10 a.m. - Midwest Tour at Buena Vista. For details, bvskiarea.com.

E Noon - Beaver Pride Hardwater Classic Live Release Tournament. Register at hardwaterclassic.org.

E 1 p.m. - Build Your Own Sled Derby in Library Park. Register Jan. 15 at the Tourist Information Center. Sponsored by Area Boy Scout Leaders of the Paul Bunyan District.

E 1 p.m. - Jaycees Polar Plunge. Register at the Tourist Information Center. Proceeds go to the Bemidji Community Food Shelf and Soup Kitchen.

E 3 p.m. - Snowman Building in Library Park. Judging will begin at 4 p.m. Sponsored by Bemidji Parks and Recreation Department.

E 3-5 p.m. - RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon Rides. Donations to Children's Miracle Network.

Thursday, Jan. 20

E 4 and 6 p.m. - Taste of Northern Minnesota, The Sanford Center Ballroom. Sponsored by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, Jan. 21

E 5 p.m. - Registration for 7 p.m. Montebello Niteski. For details, minnesotafinlandia.com.

E All day - TGIF Daytime and Evening Specials at Buena Vista Ski Area, 12 miles north of Bemidji on Beltrami County Road 15.

E Beaver hockey. The Sanford Center.

Saturday, Jan. 22

E All day - Churchwide skiing, snowboarding and tubing specials. Buena Vista Ski Area.

E 3 p.m. - Headwaters Science Center Snow Snakes Racing, Lake Bemidji waterfront.

E Hampton Inn & Suites, wedding exhibition.

E Beaver hockey.

Sunday, Jan. 23

E 3-7 p.m. - 3-7 p.m., The Great Chowhound Chili Feed. Bemidji Eagles Aerie. Fundraiser for the Beltrami Humane Society.

January brings Brrrmidji Polar Daze, a weeklong celebration of the joys of winter in the North Country.

Polar Daze grew out of early Winter Carnival celebrations, at least one of which featured an ice palace on Lake Bemidji.

Most events, except where noted, will take place on the Lake Bemidji waterfront.

The week will start Saturday, Jan. 15, with the 5K Polar Challenge Run/Walk, a Polar Plunge for charity into the freezing waters of Lake Bemidji, and a homemade sled derby and snowman building contest in Library Park.

As the week continues, the Taste of Northern Minnesota - a chance to sample the finest food from more than 25 local exhibitors - will offer some indoor pleasures. For the first time, the Taste will be held in The Sanford Center Ballroom.

The 5K cross country Montebello Niteski on the Lighted Trail will be Friday, Jan. 21, and the week will conclude with Beaver Hockey.

New this year will be the revival of the snow sculpture/snowman contest from 3-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15 in Library Park.

"I've been planning on doing the snowman contest," said Samantha Parker, Bemidji Parks and Recreation coordinator. "Polar Daze - I thought that would be great."

Judging will be held at 4 p.m. with the winner announced at 4:15 p.m. Participants are invited to show off their perfect snowmen during the first Snowman Building Contest. Entry is free and prizes will be awarded to the most creative, classic and best looking snowmen in the contest. Supplies will be limited, so participants should bring their creativity and whatever supplies they may need.

Also new this year is a fundraiser for the Beltrami Humane Society, the Great Chowhound Chili Feed from 3-7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16, at the Bemidji Eagles Aerie. For a free-will donation participants can enjoy all the chili and cornbread they can eat. There will also be live music and silent auction.

Saturday, Jan. 15

- 9 a.m. - Registration for the 5K Polar Challenge Run/Walk, Tourist Information Center, 300 Bemidji Ave. N., or Bemidji.org. Sponsored by Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and the Bemidji Pioneer.

- 10 a.m. - Midwest Tour at Buena Vista. For details, bvskiarea.com.

- Noon - Beaver Pride Hardwater Classic Live Release Tournament. Register at hardwaterclassic.org.

- 1 p.m. - Build Your Own Sled Derby in Library Park. Register Jan. 15 at the Tourist Information Center. Sponsored by Area Boy Scout Leaders of the Paul Bunyan District.

- 1 p.m. - Jaycees Polar Plunge. Register at the Tourist Information Center. Proceeds go to the Bemidji Community Food Shelf and Soup Kitchen.

- 3 p.m. - Snowman Building in Library Park. Judging will begin at 4 p.m. Sponsored by Bemidji Parks and Recreation Department.

- 3-5 p.m. - RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon Rides. Donations to Children's Miracle Network.

Thursday, Jan. 20

- 4 and 6 p.m. - Taste of Northern Minnesota, The Sanford Center Ballroom. Sponsored by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, Jan. 21

- 5 p.m. - Registration for 7 p.m. Montebello Niteski. For details, minnesotafinlandia.com.

- All day - TGIF Daytime and Evening Specials at Buena Vista Ski Area, 12 miles north of Bemidji on Beltrami County Road 15.

- Beaver hockey. The Sanford Center.

Saturday, Jan. 22

- All day - Churchwide skiing, snowboarding and tubing specials. Buena Vista Ski Area.

- 3 p.m. - Headwaters Science Center Snow Snakes Racing, Lake Bemidji waterfront.

- Hampton Inn & Suites, wedding exhibition.

- Beaver hockey.

Sunday, Jan. 23

- 3-7 p.m. - 3-7 p.m., The Great Chowhound Chili Feed. Bemidji Eagles Aerie. Fundraiser for the Beltrami Humane Society.

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Pioneer staff reports
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