Kyle Terada/USA TODAY

Minnesota Vikings Winterfest 2 coming to Prior Lake

The event formerly known as the Arctic Blast will be making its way to Prior Lake in two weeks, benefiting local charities in the Twin Cities suburb.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 2016 season ended more than a month ago, but that doesn’t mean the Minnesota Vikings are sitting back and waiting for the 2017 draft.

In two weeks, the Vikings will hold one of their largest community outreach fundraisers of the year when the Second Annual Polaris Vikings Winterfest takes place Feb. 16-18 in Prior Lake.

Formerly known as the Arctic Blast, which centered around a snowmobile rally on Mille Lacs Lake, Winterfest has become more of a social gathering with events for fans of all ages, whether they enjoy the outdoors in Minnesota in February or not.

The first Winterfest was held last February in Duluth and this year’s event will be the closest it has ever been to the Twin Cities fans base when it’s held in Prior Lake.

The events begin Thursday, Feb. 16 with a live broadcast of KFAN’s Vikings Country, hosted by Mike Mussman from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., featuring several former Vikings players and the Vikings cheerleaders. It will coincide with the SKOL ‘N Stroll, where Vikings fans can hit local downtown Prior Lake stores to meet Vikings legends and win team prizes.

Friday kicks off with KFAN’s Power Trip Morning Show broadcasting from Pointe Grille and Bar from 5:30 to 9 a.m. Throughout the day, Vikings cheerleaders and mascot Viktor will be make appearances at Prior Lake Schools. A Chamber of Commerce Luncheon will be held at the Mystic Lake Grand Ballroom, including an appearance from Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, starting at 11:30 a.m. From 4 to 6 p.m. current Vikings will be signing autographs at multiple locations yet to be announced. The evening will conclude with a performance at the Mystic Lake Showroom by the popular 1980s cover band Hairball, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s events will get underway from 8:30 a.m. until noon with a pancake breakfast at the Prior Lake VFW – served up by Vikings head chef Geji McKinney-Banks. A limited number of tickets are available for $10. From 10 a.m. to noon, former Viking E.J. Henderson and current Vikings players will host a football skills clinic for children ages 6-12 at Twin Oaks Middle School. At noon, the Vikings will join Special Olympics Minnesota and the City of Prior Lake for a Polar Plunge event at Sand Point Beach. From 2 to 5 p.m. The Vikings will host an ice fishing contest and, from 2 to 10 p.m. outdoor activities will take place at the Winterfest Ice Village at Charlie’s On Prior with Vikings players and cheerleaders making appearances.

The event will conclude with an Ice Concert featuring live music from Tripwire from 5 to 7 p.m. and Chris Hawkey from 8 to 10 p.m. – culminating with a fireworks show on the lake.

The 2016 season officially ends Sunday with Super Bowl LI, but the Vikings are already kicking off 2017 with the first of many events that will come in the next 12 months, culminating with the Super Bowl coming back to Minnesota, which, if history tells us anything, happens once every 26 years.

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