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Winter Frolic--the coolest party in town

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news Two Harbors, 55616

Two Harbors Minnesota 109 Waterfront Dr. 55616

Floats are being prepared for the parade, chili recipes are being tested for the cook-off and outhouses are being fine tuned for the big race.

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Yes, the Winter Frolic is back in Two Harbors after last year's lack of snow cancelled the event.

Organizers say that most, if not all, events should go on as scheduled at Two Harbors' annual winter celebration, scheduled for Feb. 8-10, thanks to last week's snowfall and the continued freezing temperatures.

"Usually if you have to cancel an event a couple of years in a row, that's the death of it," Winter Frolic committee chairman Dick Bohrer said. "We figured we wouldn't call it off (this year), but we'd figure out some stuff that we could still carry on, run some of the races. But now it looks like we'll be doing good."

The Winter Frolic is a decades-old tradition in Two Harbors, but it wasn't until a few years ago that a committee was formed to rejuvenate the event. It has quickly become a staple of Two Harbors winters, so its cancellation in 2012 wasn't easy for its organizers.

"It was a hard decision last year," Bohrer said. "We all hemmed and hawed, but there was absolutely no snow. And it's hard to reschedule later on when you spent all the time and effort, then it doesn't come to pass."

The first day of the festivities, Friday, Feb. 8, has been designated "Kids Day." Included in the activities will be "Fun with Frosty," an all-day program for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade featuring arts and crafts, movies, sliding and snow sculpture carving.

Other events Friday include a sloppy joe lunch, the evening kick-off parade, a digital photo scavenger hunt, live music, and the chili cook-off.

Saturday will feature an abundance of events, including a pancake breakfast, the signature outhouse and "smoosh" races, as well as vintage snowmobile rides and sleigh rides. Hockey fans will be treated to a boot hockey tournament behind the American Legion. Spectators can watch the games starting at 10 a.m. Those who want to play can register a team at 9 a.m., also at the Legion.

Sunday, the final day of festivities, will include just one event, the 13th annual Agate City Judo Tournament at Two Harbors High School

With freezing temperatures in the forecast, it doesn't appear that Two Harbors' snow is going anywhere anytime soon. But not every event is in the clear yet, Bohrer said.

"The only thing we might have to cancel is the sliding hill. I don't know if we'll have enough snow for that," he said. "We may have to adjust plans for the vintage snowmobile rides and horse-drawn sleighs as well."

Regardless of how much snow is actually on the ground for the event, Two Harbors Mayor Randy Bolen welcomed the return of the Winter Frolic.

"These types of events are great community building tools and marketable not just for the community and the surrounding area, but for everyone to enjoy," he said. "It's a unique thing that we do in conjunction with the Chamber. It's a special weekend. We get to pull people out of their homes and they can get together with neighbors out in the community."

The Chamber of Commerce hosts the Winter Frolic, and officials say that last year's cancelation was a blow to local businesses that sponsor the event.

"It benefits tremendous numbers of businesses," Bolen said. "It's a good shot at capital for the town and businesses that weekend. Being canceled last year, we're excited about having it back."

It's also an event that can help drum up tourism during the off-season.

"Part of our strategy is to market even outside of Duluth - we push the marketing all the way down to the Cities," Bolen said. "It's our job to show that this is what the North Shore has to offer. We hope to expand on and enhance the events that we've done that in past."

Winter Frolic schedules, maps and registration forms for races and contests are available online at twoharborswinterfrolic.com.

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