Bayfield, Wisconsin—Bayfield welcomes mushers and spectators as the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race takes place Saturday and Sunday, February 1 & 2, 2020. 
 
The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race is in its 25th year. Multiple races take place over the course of the weekend, with the teams completing a loop through the forests of the Bayfield Peninsula each day. The race provides a winter economic boost to the city of Bayfield, though most view this as a way to embrace winter and heavy snow. Bayfield hosts many annual events, most notably, the Bayfield Apple Festival. But locals claim this one is their favorite.
 
“Bayfield doesn't hibernate--quite the opposite. Locals and visitors alike are embracing this year's heavy snow and getting outside; this is the perfect example” said Paige Rautio for the Bayfield Chamber & Visitor Bureau. “There is so much excitement. Bayfield is absolutely buzzing with activity, and the dogs are ready to run–its infectious. The weather is great for spectators and the trails are in excellent condition this year."
 
The event consists of five individual races, including a 10-dog 80-mile race; an 8-dog 60-mile race; a 40-mile Sportsmen's Race; a 6-8 mile Family/Rec Race (Saturday only); and a 6-mile Youth Race (Sunday only), with a combined purse of more than $3000 distributed to the winners in different categories.
 
Races begin at 10am on both Saturday and Sunday at the Echo Valley Gravel Pit, which is located 11 miles north of downtown Bayfield on Highway 13 (at fire number 30675 State Highway 13). The location serves as the start/finish line for each race and is an excellent place to cheer the teams on as they head out on to the trail. There will be a warming fire, information tent, merchandise sales, and a food truck at the Echo Valley Gravel Pit. 
 
There is an additional spectator site at the corner of Star Route Road and Butterfield Road where the 8 and 10-dog teams follow the course, crossing the road following Bayfield County’s Sand River Trail System. This site also features a warming fire, porta-potty, and viewing area. New for 2020, a public wireless hotspot is also available at this spectator site.
 
In addition to the actual race, there are several special events taking place in Bayfield as part of the event. On Friday, February 1, a welcome event called Meet the Mushers Lasagna Dinner will begin at 6pm at the Lakeside Pavilion. At 7pm is the mandatory roll call for all the weekend's racers, and the public is encouraged to attend and see what goes on behind the scenes of a sled dog race. On Saturday at 5pm, the Bayfield Inn will host a Musher Mixer and Taco Dinner. Saturday's race results will be available there and visitors are invited to mingle with the mushers as they find out their times. Beginning at 7pm at the Madeline Island Ferry Terminal, Newton Marshall will talk about his journey as a Jamaican musher; an accomplished racer who has completed the Yukon Quest and Iditarod and receiving accolades for his sportsmanship. On Sunday afternoon after the race, the final Awards Ceremony will take place at the Bayfield Lakeside Pavilion. The doors open at 3pm, with the awards to be presented by Janet Bewley, Wisconsin State Senator, at approximately 4pm.
 
Directories with maps and race information will be available at the Bayfield Chamber and Visitor Bureau (117 South First St.), at local businesses, and online at bayfield.org/aisdr. The public is welcome at all events. Race organizers kindly request that spectators leave their pets at home. For more information about the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race, visit bayfield.org or call 715-779-3335.