ONAMIA -- The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe will welcome a number of current and former Minnesota Viking players to the eighth annual Vikings Arctic Blast Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
The Arctic Blast is the largest participation snowmobile event in North America and raises money for the Viking Children's Fund and environmental organizations in the Mille Lacs Lake area.
Grand Casino Mille Lacs Events and Convention Center and Eddy's Lake Mille Lacs Resort will be blastpoints -- area establishments where people can meet Vikings players and play games for prizes. Eddy's will be a family blastpoint where fans may watch the snowmobilers.
The celebration will be conducted regardless of snow cover in the area.
Thursday, Jan. 30
Festivities begin with community visits by Vikings players and coaches in the afternoon.
An invitation-only welcome event for the Vikings will be from 7-9 p.m. The public is invited to join the Vikings at McQuoid's Inn in Onamia, where sale of beverages will raise money for the Viking Children's Fund.
Friday, Jan. 31
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will conduct a Vikings-only snowmobile safety session at 10:15 a.m.
At 11:30 a.m., the Vikings will join the public in a ride on Mille Lacs Lake. The Mille Lacs Indian Museum will be open to the public from 11-6 p.m., offering visitors free refreshments.
A party and autograph session with Vikings players at McQuoid's Inn will kick off with music and a bonfire at 8 p.m. A fireworks display over Mille Lacs Lake begins at 10 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 1
The Arctic Blast snowmobile rally begins at 9:30 a.m. Participants will snowmobile to area blastpoints to meet the Vikings and play games for prizes.
Blastpoints include: Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Blue Goose Inn, Carlson Beach Supper Club, Castaway's Resort, Nitti's Hunters Point, Buzzies on the Bay at Mac's Twin Bay Resort, McQuoid's Inn, Izatys Golf and Yacht Club and Eddy's Lake Mille Lacs Resort.
A free courtesy bus will be provided Saturday at all blastpoints for registered non-snowmobilers. A silent auction will be conducted at Grand Casino Mille Lacs during the day.
Participants who check in to a minimum of three blastpoints will be eligible to win prizes that will be given away at Grand Casino Mille Lacs at 5:45 p.m.
Fireworks over Mille Lacs Lake in Garrison begins at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. A celebration at McQuoid's Inn starts at 9 p.m. and will feature Vikings players, cheerleaders and live music.
Pre-registration for the Arctic Blast costs $25 (must be received by Saturday) and includes a gift package for the first 700 registrants and a chance to win 2003 Vikings season tickets. On-site registration costs $35.
For more information, or to register, call (952) 828-6577 or visit www.vikings.com.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.