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Two Harbors gears up for Winter Frolic

Participants in the vintage snowmobile ride head toward town during the 2017 Winter Frolic. (News-Chronicle photo by Jamey Malcomb)1 / 4
The Northwoods Band performs in the heated tent at the 2017 Winter Frolic in Two Harbors. (News-Chronicle file photo)2 / 4
Several people used the bonfire to roast marshmallows for s'mores near the Two Harbors Curling Club during the 2017 Winter Frolic. (News-Chronicle file photo)3 / 4
Community members compete against each other during the Community Curling Challenge at the 2017 Winter Frolic at the Two Harbors Curling Club. (News-Chronicle file photo)4 / 4

It's early January, Lake Superior is constantly under a cloud of sea smoke and, with every inch of snow that falls, organizers of Two Harbors annual Winter Frolic are working to put the finishing touches on the 2018 festival scheduled for Feb. 9-10.

Winter Frolic co-chairpersons Debbie Ruberg and Sara Cuypers are pulling out all the stops this year, adding some new highlights and bringing back many of the old favorites that provide fun for the whole family.

"It's fun for me, as a mom, to be able to get out of the house on the weekends and do something with these kids that are so stir crazy because it's so cold outside," Cuypers said. "It's a fun family event for the whole community. It's just a great deal."

New this year are the kayak races, sponsored by Two Harbors High School DECA Club. Beginning Feb. 10 at 3 p.m., relay teams of four will take over the sledding hill by Lakeview National Golf Course. A team member will take a kayak down the hill and then drag the kayak back up the hill for the next team member.

The idea started as teams riding old mattresses down the hill and evolved to the kayak races. A Facebook post about the event quickly went viral, with more than 20,000 people taking a look.

"It's going to be crazy," Two Harbors DECA adviser Janelle Jones said. "The response has been awesome so far. It's trending with people from all over. I think we are onto something."

The festivities begin Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. with the annual chili cook-off and community curling event at the Two Harbors Curling Club. Festival goers will be able to taste a variety of chili recipes from local restaurants.

They can then head downstairs to watch or compete in the community curling challenge. The two-end, mini-bonspiel will have eight teams of four members compete against each other in a three-round tournament.

During a break in the action, the Two Harbors City Council will again face off against then Lake County Board of Commissioners in the annual battle of elected officials. Last year, the County Board's newest addition, Commissioner Rick Hogenson, led the team to its first victory in several years.

Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson says the Council was really looking out for the commissioners' self-esteem.

"Simply put, last year was about us wanting the county to feel good about themselves and we thought it would be a nice gesture to let them win," Swanson said. "But this year, we most likely won't let that happen."

Each year, the winning team gets its name etched on a trophy that the winner keeps. Both teams contribute $100, with the loser donating their money to a local charity of the winner's choice.

Also back this year is the vintage snowmobile ride, which will kick off Saturday's fun. Riders will gather at the Two Harbors Airport beginning at 9 a.m. The parade of old-fashioned snowmobiles will depart the airport at 11 a.m. and make its way to the curling club.

Other events making a return are the pancake breakfast sponsored by the Two Harbors Lions Club, the T-ball tournament outside the curling club, the photo scavenger hunt and the broomball tournament at the Two Harbors Arena.

There will also be a bonfire outside the curling club throughout the day. In the tent nearby, there will be music beginning at noon, with the Northwoods Band performing from 5-10 p.m.

"It doesn't matter how cold or snowy it is, there are plenty of places to warm up," Ruberg said. "There's the bonfire, the tent and the curling club, so there are places to warm up and go back out and have fun."

For more information, a schedule of events or registration forms, go to

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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