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Sign of spring: Despite the cold, Dairy Queen opens in Moorhead


Tradition trumps temperature at one of the country's oldest Dairy Queens, no matter how cold it was.

On the first day of meteorological spring, Moorhead saw record-breaking subzero temperatures and wind chill warnings, but that didn't stop the Eighth Street Dairy Queen from opening its walk-up windows on Saturday, according to WDAY. This tradition began years ago by previous owners and continued over the weekend by current owners, Troy and Diane DeLeon, Inforum reports.

"It gives [customers] hope that spring isn't too far off," Diane DeLeon, who has owned the restaurant for 19 years, told WDAY.

But it didn't seem that way Saturday – Fargo set the record for coldest high temperature ever in the month of March with a high of minus 11, said WDAY Meteorologist Daryl Ritchison. The previous record was minus 7 set on March 7, 1948.

Those bone-chilling temperatures didn't stop customers from lining up.

"It's our fix! We've been in withdrawals since Nov. 1," Sharon Bjerken, a longtime Moorhead resident, told WDAY.

“I was gonna get ice cream. Then I came out here,” Grant Ishaug told Inforum. The 18-year-old student at Minnesota State University Moorhead eventually ordered a hot dog.

The popular items Saturday included polish sausages, hot barbeque sandwiches and hot dogs, the DeLeons told Inforum, but that didn't stop some people from getting cold treats.

“My hands are still frozen from making Blizzards,” Troy DeLeon told Inforum.

Early “meteorological” spring will continue to bring temperatures below zero, possibly pushing the season into third place on the list of subzero days this winter, according to the Star Tribune. The high Sunday in Moorhead is minus-6 degrees, Monday will see a high of 6, Tuesday a high of 14 and Wednesday a high of 19.

Bob and Phyllis Litherland opened the Dairy Queen in 1949. The restaurant is a traditional seasonal walk-up style Dairy Queen that is open March through October, according to the website.

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