February 2013 Take heart – snow’s the word Play to your heart’s content in the Park Rapids Lakes Area in February. What’s not to love! The days are getting longer, the average temps are rising and hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails and cross country ski trails are groomed and ready. Itasca State Park reports nine inches of snow fell January 29! You should contact a local bait shop or lakeside resort to ask about ice conditions and check ice thickness once you arrive at your destination, but with a string of subzero temperatures this winter, lake ice has built up. So enjoy a day fishing on a quiet, frozen lake. Whether you want to fish or go for a quiet walk, you could see bald eagles cleaning up after anglers, trumpeter swans flying gracefully overhead or other winged winter birds. With Valentine’s Day on February’s calendar, a winter getaway “up north” may be the way to win your Valentine’s heart for the first time or all over again. An array of local restaurants have Valentines Specials. Restaurant list: http://parkrapids.chambermaster.com/directory/jsp/busdir/SearchResults.jsp The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources updates snow and trail conditions in weekly reports updated after 2 p.m. every Thursday at www.dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth/index.html. And our Chamber Website provides information about trail riding and cross country skiing possibilities as well as available lodging, dining and other things to see and do while you’re here. If you time your stay, you can sample one of the following fun winter events: It’s not too late to head north for the 15th Annual Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Contest on Fish Hook Lake from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, February 2. The contest offers more than $110,000 in prizes. Grand prizes in this year’s raffle are a 2013 Chevy Silverado LS pickup truck and an Ice Castle fish house. Other raffle prizes, including a $5,000 cash prize, will be awarded. Polaris ATVs top the list of prizes in all four divisions: bluegill & crappie; northern, walleye & largemouth bass; perch; and rock bass. Tickets for the fishing contest at $40 each are available at the American Legion or call 218-732-3360. For more information, go to www.parkrapidsamericanlegion.com. Discover the history of early horse logging from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, February 9 at Itasca State Park. The demonstration location will be chosen closer to the date of the event. Logging using horses was common to this area in the late 1800s. Watch lumberjacks fell trees with a 2-man cross-cut saw, buck the log into sections, skid the logs with the teamster’s trained horses and cross-haul logs onto a horse-drawn sled. Members of the Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers will be on hand to demonstrate these early logging methods. Registration for the 8th Annual Audrey’s Purple Dream Fishing Tournament and Polar Plunge is from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, February 9 on 11th Crow Wing Lake, Akeley. Hot food and beverages will be available on the ice. The fishing tournament is on from noon to 3 p.m. with the Purple Polar Plunge at 2 p.m. Following the fishing tournament, prizes and awards will be presented at the Akeley VFW, which also will be serving hot food. The party will continue with live music from 8 p.m. to midnight at the VFW. For more information, go to www.audreyspurpledream.com. Arts Downtown PR (3rd Thursdays) continue in downtown Park Rapids. The Park Rapids Lakes Area Council sponsors painters, sculptors, musicians, writers and other artists the third Thursday of the month. The evening events are free and open to the public. The program is posted at www.prlaac.org.
Snowshoe by the light of the moon and lanterns along the trail in Itasca State Park from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, February 23. Snowshoe at your own pace along the kerosene lantern lit route during this drop-in program. For added fun, bring along your s’mores fixings or hot dogs for cooking at the campfire. Dress according to the weather. In case of poor weather, the event will be canceled. Itasca State Park does have snowshoes to rent. The trail location will be chosen closer to the date of the event. The Hubbard Sleigh Festival will provide an unforgettable winter festival in the scenic small town of Hubbard from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, February 24. Starting at 11 a.m. enjoy horse-drawn wagon (sleigh) rides, sled dog rides behind the Community Center, and hot chocolate at the Hilltop. Chili and cornbread will be served at the Community Center from noon to 3 p.m. and “Incredibly Real” will entertain there. Find clues for a treasure hunt and enjoy a cozy bonfire at the Community Center as well. At noon there will be a Giddy-up Cart Race at the Old Hubbard General Store. The parade of sleighs and horse drawn vehicles starts at 1 p.m. The Long Lake Theater will host a Hubbard History Play at 2 p.m. followed by a performance by “County 20″ at 2:30. Enjoy mulled wine and cider at the theater from 2 to 4 p.m. If the abundant snow stays with us, there will be snow sculptures to view. A trapper encampment is planned on historic Hubbard Lane by the Indian Mounds with demonstrations of early life and games. This trip into yesteryear will create wonderful memories for you and your family and guests. The Dorothy Noeske Memorial Bluegill and Crappie Fishing Derby will give anglers another fun event on Straight Lake in Osage from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24. Prizes include ice augers, cash and more. The first 100 kids on the ice will receive a bag of “goodies, there will be a drawing for a youth lifetime fishing license and the largest fish caught by a kid will be mounted free of charge. Lunch will be available on the ice. For more information, go to http://osagesportsmansclub.com. If you need help planning a memorable and affordable visit, need more information about these and other winter activities or if you have questions, call our friendly staff at 800-247-0054 to learn more.