The Minnesota Vikings will be starting a new tradition as a way to raise money for the Vikings Children’s Fund, announcing that Feb. 19-21 will be the inaugural Polaris-Vikings Winter Fest in Duluth.
The Winter Fest will replace the Arctic Blast as the Vikings’ primary winter fundraiser for the VCF. The Arctic Blast was the Vikings’ big fundraising activity and centered on a snowmobile rally around Mille Lacs Lake in Central Minnesota. The Winter Fest will be a three-day event and will focus more on fan interaction with current and former Vikings.
The three-day event will kick of the morning of Friday, Feb. 19, when Vikings play-by-play announcer Paul Allen hosts his morning radio show on KFAN Radio from Duluth. Plans include a youth football clinic hosted by Vikings Youth Football Manager E.J. Henderson.
There will be several meet-and-greet events in Duluth over the weekend and full schedule of events is expected to be released in January. Much like the Arctic Blast, the weekend will culminate with a Sunday party that will have more than $30,000 in prizes to be given away.
The purpose of having the events in Duluth is to allow fans the opportunity to attend as many of the events as possible and not centering events outdoors, which are often at the mercy of the weather.
“We take great pride at the Minnesota Vikings in being able to give back to our community while focusing on the children of the Upper Midwest,” Vikings President/Owner Mark Wilf said. “From an open training camp to these philanthropic events across the state, our goal is to connect our team with as many fans as possible throughout Minnesota.”
For their part, officials in Duluth couldn’t be happier to be part of the new event. Anna Tanski, president and CEO of the Visit Duluth program, said partnering with the Vikings can increase fan participation for the flagship winter fundraising program by having more events that are open to all ages, rather than the primarily adult participation in the Arctic Blast.
“We’re thrilled to host the Polaris-Vikings Winter Fest in February,” Tanksi said. “This type of family-focused event is a benefit for locals in addition to showcasing Duluth to fans from across the region. Most importantly, it raises funds for such an important purpose.”
The sponsor of the event is Polaris, named one of the founding partners of U.S. Bank Stadium in November. As part of its sponsorship, Polaris off-round vehicles will be incorporated throughout the event.
A full schedule of events will be announced in January. More information on the event will be found at the Vikings website (www.vikings.com) or by calling the Vikings event line at (952) 828-6577.
Since 1978 when it was founded, the VCF has raised almost $11 million, with more than $5 million of that allocated to support research at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Pediatrics.