Minnesota winter means snowy streets, icy lakes and, sometimes, sled dog races.

The city of Excelsior is combining those three for the return of its Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby race weekend on Friday, Feb. 4 and Saturday, Feb. 5.

On Friday, people can meet the mushers and dogs in the downtown west parking lot. Over 300 dogs will have their pre-race veterinary checks done. Breeds include a variety of huskies and people can watch from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and again from 2 to 4 p.m.

Also on Friday, people can grab autographs and ask to pet the animals from 4 to 6 p.m. Sold-out sled dog rides will take place that afternoon and evening around the city’s commons area.

With showings at 6 and 8:30 p.m., the 1995 film “Balto” will play at Excelsior’s Dock Cinema Friday for people to warm up and enjoy a show inside. Saturday showings are at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

On race day Saturday, people can catch shuttle services from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Minnetonka High School and Minnetonka Middle School West to Excelsior Library.

Saturday will include the race, food trucks, a beverage garden, games, bonfire pits and a s’mores area from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Thirty-five teams, including some competitors from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, will compete for a $10,000 prize as people watch the spectacle. Sleds will consist of a musher and eight dogs per team.

Mushers hail from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Michigan, South Dakota, Alaska and Canada.

The race begins along downtown Excelsior streets at 10 a.m. after the 9:15 a.m. ceremony, wraps 40 miles around Lake Minnetonka, and ends near the starting point around 5 p.m.

An awards ceremony will be at 5 p.m., followed by a wrap-up party from 6 to 10 p.m.

“Our goal is to once again produce a fun race that celebrates the authentic North, while informing Twin Citians about the incredible athleticism and passion of sled dogs and mushers,” said Dale Kurschner with the derby.

The first annual event is the only professional sled dog race in a top U.S. metropolitan area.

Proceeds from the race weekend will go toward Adopt a Husky Minnesota, ICA Food Shelf and Can Do Canines.

Events