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Lake Minnetonka's Klondike Dog Derby is canceled this winter, will return in 2022

Despite being outside, event organizers say social distancing would be difficult at the starting chute.

The Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby has been canceled this winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The 40-mile dog sled race, named after similar races on the lake decades ago, was held for the first time last year on a frozen Lake Minnetonka. It attracted thousands of spectators and mushers from around the world on a snowy February weekend. 

But the second-annual Klondike Dog Sled Race will have to wait a year, event organizers said Tuesday. The event, scheduled for February 2021, will be postponed to February 2022. 

"The board and committee teams have spent the last several months considering all avenues in which we could host a 2021 race weekend, but each proposed solution comes with its own set of challenges," organizers said. "With the current state capacity mandates in place, we’d exceed the maximum event capacity by 200% with just our Volunteer team — let alone with the expected 20,000-plus spectators."

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The event is outside, but organizers said last year at the starting chute in Excelsior, people stood 10-plus people deep, which doesn't leave much room for social distancing. 

"The Klondike, the musher teams and our amazing community deserve the best, and for the foreseeable future, we aren’t able to deliver that," organizers said. 

Event organizers do hope to hold smaller events this winter, include Hug-a-Husky and brewery education sessions, as well as partner with Bear Grease Sled Dog Marathon in supporting the sport in the Midwest.

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