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Video: With No Plans to Cancel, Beargrease Weekend Festivities Kick Off

Jan 26, 2019 06:30AM ● By Editor

By Baihly Warfield of WDIO-TV - January 25, 2019

The Beargrease is back, and the weekend festivities kicked off with Brewsheen Friday night. 

Canal Park Brewing tapped a keg of a specialty chocolate hazelnut brown ale outside the mansion, and huskies and husky puppies from Adopt a Husky Minnesota were there for some loving. 

It's held at the Glensheen to honor the connection between Chester Congdon and John Beargrease. 

Oakley and Nala greet a fan at the Brewsheen by Beargrease event

Oakley and Nala greet a fan at the Brewsheen by Beargrease event.  Photo: Ben Harper/WDIO

"Just a way to kind of marry Chester Congdon was a pioneer to start the North Shore, as John Beargrease was a pioneer up north," Monica Hendrickson said. "They kind of married in the middle, and we're just here to celebrate."

It is going to be a cold marathon this year, with temperatures below zero most nights. But Hendrickson said they will not be cancelling it.

"The dogs are going to be cold, which is good. They're going to actually run faster," she said. "When it's warmer, it's actually harder on the dogs. They're actually going to be much healthier in this race."

The 2019 race will also be about 100 miles shorter than 2018. The trail from Billy's Bar in Duluth to the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino will take mushers and their teams over 295 miles of North Shore terrain. 

"Everyone's strategy is going to change. So mushers don't exchange their strategies with anyone, but I think a much faster race. The course is going to be fast," Hendrickson said. 

Twelve mushers are competing in the full marathon, and 20 will race the Beargrease 120, which should end around 5 a.m. Monday at Lutsen Mountain. 

Defending champion Ryan Redington will race again. Another team of his dogs will also be driven by musher Jason Rice. Husband and wife Blake and Jennifer Freking will also be competing against each other and the rest of the field. 

Organizers are forecasting the marathon will finish around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon at the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino.

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

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