MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - On Monday, Washington Street was empty and quiet, but come Friday night, it'll be packed with thousands of people cheering on mushers and sled dogs for the UP 200, Midnight Run, and Jack Pine 30. As an Iditarod qualifying race, the UP 200 covers approximately 230 miles from Marquette to Grand Marais, with a return to Marquette along the same trail.
"It's a sport that you can't see anywhere else unless you're in a climate much like this," said Anna Dravland, Community Relations and Event Marketing for Travel Marquette. "The people are cheering and screaming, and watching these racers go by... It's a really pleasant environment to be in."
Though Washington Street is lacking snow right now, on Friday morning, the street will be shut down and snow will be brought in from all over the area to pack down on the road just for the sled dog races.
At least 7,000 people, including Governor Snyder, are expected to be watching the start of the UP 200 race and Midnight Run on Friday night alone. However, the races are not the only attractions this week.
Other events starting Wednesday include silent auctions, banquets, brunch, the vet check, and warming parties just to name a few, with a majority of these activities open to the public. For a full schedule of events, click here.
But this huge event wouldn't be possible without the help of volunteers, and organizers say they're still in need of people to sign up.
"We're still looking to get people involved," said Diane Mankee, a UP 200 Board Member, and the Silent Auction Coordinator. "Even if it's just for a day or a couple hours, you're more than welcome to join us. And you know, it goes all the way from Marquette to Grand Marais and back, so we need people along the way. If you're an outdoor enthusiast, please let us know."
If you're interested in volunteering with any of the events, click here.
For more information about the UP 200, Midnight Run, and Jack Pine 30, visit their website at up200.org.