Welcome to the wacky winter festival known as Icebox Days – an annual celebration staged in what the world knows as the “Icebox of the Nation.” That trademarked moniker, given to us by Collier’s magazine decades ago, harbors plenty of implications but one thing is for sure ~ it keeps the media inquiring and has put us on the global map.
Events through the years have been covered by CBS, NBC and ABC networks and others. The Icebox and winter festival have also been featured on The Travel Channel, The Weather Channel, MSNBC, Lifetime and dozens of national and international publications. A few years ago, Emmy Award-winning television journalist JuJu Chang visited with her son and producer, resulting in an International Falls feature on the ABC program “Nightline.”
Yet there’s still a lot more you need to know about us. Our people live here because they love the area and are inhabited with an affection for nature illustrated in joyous winter activity and winter resiliency.
Sure – we celebrate winter with our wacky and wonderful winter festival. But here’s another thing: International Falls is beautiful in four distinct seasons – breathtakingly pristine winters melt into heavenly summers, and glorious autumns. In the meantime, Icebox Days is packed full of fun and zany games for all people, including frozen turkey bowling; the locally invented “smoosh” races; moonlight skiing in Voyageurs National Park; the infamous “Gizzard” runs and much more(as you will see in this schedule).
Be sure to catch the exhilarating FIREWORKS under the winter sky at 6 p.m. Saturday near Smokey Bear Park. Then, it’s the FYGB Runners Reception and Beach Party again at Border Bar & Pizza Parlor.
2017 Icebox Days are coordinated by the International Falls Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the city of International Falls, generous sponsors and dozens of volunteers. You are warmly welcomed to the Icebox of the Nation for the 37th amazing year of Icebox Days and Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run.
The 2017 Icebox Days Schedule of Events
Please Note: This is a tentative schedule based on the events that occurred in 2016
Thursday, January 19, 2017
- DQ Celebrates the FYGBR: The Dairy Queen Grill & Chill of International Falls will again celebrate Icebox Days by naming a DQ BLIZZARD in honor of the Freeze yer Gizzard Blizzard Run. Bernice and staff will offer a new and exciting Blizzard combination beginning Jan. 9 (through Jan. 17) to sample before voting on this year’s choices for the official Blizzard of the 35th Annual FYGBR. The winning Blizzard will be announced Friday, Jan. 16. The Dairy Queen will offer this Blizzard at half price on Jan. 17. Call Rhonda 218-821-7194 for more information.
- Snow Sculptures: Snow sculptures could start appearing Wednesday in Smokey Bear Park. Weather permitting, area students from St. Thomas and Falls Elementary Schools will create magic in the snow.
- 6 p.m. — RRCC Women’s Basketball vs. Northland – Rainy River Community College Gym
- 8 p.m. — RRCC Men’s Basketball vs. Northland – Rainy River Community College Gym
Friday, January 20, 2017
- January — You are invited to “Red Solo Cup Days” (Sharpies furnished) at the VFW Post located at 1416 Third Avenue (Hwy. 53 South) during International Falls Icebox Days. Play pull tabs, enjoy music Friday and Saturday. Call 283-8777, Maxine, for more information.
- 5:45 – 9:30 p.m. — St. Thomas Aquinas Bingo Night at Aquinas Hall. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. Bingo starts at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Sponsored by St. Thomas School, 283-3430.
- 6 p.m. — Wing Eating Contest at Viking Bar. Come and test your wing-eating skills. Each person will get 12 wings. The first person to finish their wings wins. $5 entry fee. First Prize – $75, Second Prize – $50 and Third Prize – $25. Call Viking Bar to register, 283-4000.
- 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. — Tacos & Cribbage at the Moose Lodge 1259 Taco Building 5:30-6:30 p.m., Cribbage Tournament 6:30 p.m. $5 entry fee. 1st Place $50 guaranteed. Contact Marc Windsness at 283-8268 or the Moose Lodge at 283-3615.
- 7 – 8 p.m. — Red Neck Trivia at Viking Bar. There are five rounds of Trivia with 10 questions each. Each round, a winner will be determined by most questions correctly answered out of 10. The winner receives a free drink for each round won. Call Viking Bar at 283-4000 for more information.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
- 5 – 8 p.m. — Registration & Packet Pickup – “Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run” 10K and 5K: Commons at Rainy River Community College. Contact the Chamber of Commerce at 218-283-9400 or 800-325-5766. Registration fee is $45 after Dec. 31 and includes a long-sleeve Performance B-Core wicking T-shirt. Packets for participants will also be available before the run on Saturday morning. Packet info also available at www.freezeyergizzardrun.com.
- 6 – 7:30 p.m. — Moonlight Snowshoe Hike in Voyageurs National Park. Meet at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, 6 p.m. Contact Justin Olson at 286-5258. Come celebrate Icebox Days at your national park. Join a park ranger for a snowshoe walk in the North Woods by the light of the moon. The full moon creates a majestic winter experience on these crisp, clear Minnesota nights. Enjoy the night sky and our snowy wonderland. Snowshoes provided. Warm up afterward with a campfire and hot cocoa. Sponsored by Voyageurs National Park. Disclaimer agreements required.
- 7 p.m. — Viking Bar BARGO at Union Hall. BARGO is just like BINGO, but bar style. Every 10 minutes there is a chance for you to win a free drink. Cards are given out until 8 p.m. only. Buy a drink, and get a card to play for FREE! At 9 p.m., Blackout BARGO starts. Cover your entire card in a certain amount of numbers and win the Jackpot! Call 283-4000 for more information.
- 7:30 p.m. — RRCC Women’s Hockey VS. Alaska Bronco Arena
- 10 p.m. — Viking Bar Can Crushing Contest at Union Hall. Contestants will be given a crusher and cans. Whoever crushes the most cans in one minute wins $50. Call 283-4000 for more information.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
- 7 – 10:30 a.m. — Pancake Breakfast at the Elk’s Lodge No. 1599. Sponsored by Falls Education Foundation. Free will offering. Contact Kay Herman at 218-283-4024 for more information.
- 8 – 10 a.m. — Registration for the 5k and 10k Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run at Rainy River Community College Commons. (5K registration closes at 9 a.m. & 10K registration closes at 10 a.m.) RRCC showers and locker rooms are available until 12:30 p.m. only.
- 9:30 a.m. — 5K Fun Run “Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run” 5K Run starts and finishes at Rainy River Community College. Sponsored by Boise Paper, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc., Essentia Health, Midcontinent Communications, Rainy River Community College, Minnesota Power, KSDM/KGHS Radio, 93.1 The Border The Journal/North Star Publishing, and Minnesota Energy Resources. Entry Fee is $45 and includes a long-sleeve Performance Wicking T-shirt. A premiere event of Icebox Days! Contact the Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-325-5766 or 218-283-9400. Be BOLD and RUN THE COLD!
- 10:30 a.m. — 10K Race “Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run” 10K Run starts and finishes at Rainy River Community College. Sponsored by Boise Paper, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc., Essentia Health, Midcontinent Communications, Rainy River Community College, Minnesota Power, KSDM/KGHS Radio, 93.1 The Border, The Journal/North Star Publishing, and Minnesota Energy Resources. Entry Fee is $45 and includes a long-sleeve Performance Wicking T-shirt. This is the premiere event of Icebox Days! It has been featured by media nationally and internationally. Unpredictable weather conditions for this famous 10k run is part of the adventure! Runners return year after frosty year. Contact the Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-325-5766 or 218-283-9400. Be BOLD and Run the COLD!
- 10 a.m. — Icebox Boot Hockey Tournament at Eighth Street Rink. Get a team of 10 gals and guys together, three males & two females on the ice at all times) and join in this fun sport during the winter festival. $75 participation fee per team. 100% Payback – First, Second and Third places. Chamber-awarded cash prizes (Chamber Dollars). Contacts: Chad Korpi at 218-324-1172 or email: email@example.com; Jesse Belanger at 218-324-1299 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Adherence to rules and disclaimer-signed agreements by participants are required. (Kerry Park secondary rink venue if needed)
- 10:45 a.m. — Awards Ceremony 5K Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Fun Run held at Rainy River Community College Commons. Hosted by the infamous Gizzard Girls!
- 11:45 a.m. — Awards Ceremony 10K Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run held at Rainy River Community College Commons. Hosted by the infamous Gizzard Girls!
- Noon — Dart Tournament at Border Bar & Pizza House. $5 entry, 300% payback. Sign up at 11 a.m. Call Bob at 283-9919 for more information.
- 1 p.m. — Toilet Seat Toss at Viking Bar. Great event for all ages! Come to the Viking Bar and test your toilet-seat-tossing skills. Those that toss the seat the furthest, win! Winning child gets a certificate for $20 to Dairy Queen. Seats provided by Viking Bar. Winning adult gets a certificate for $25 to the Viking Bar, 283-4000. Disclaimer agreements required.
- 1 – 3 p.m. — “Chili Challenge” at Backus. Chili recipes: eat for $6. Includes chili, toppings and beverage. Kids under age 12, accompanied by a paid adult, eat for $2. Vote for your favorite chili, trophies for 1st and 2nd place awarded. Individuals, groups and businesses encouraged to enter! Call Backus at 285-7225 for more information.
- 1 – 3 p.m. — “Turkey Bowling” FREE outdoor event, and one of the most famous! Bowling lanes outdoors at Backus Community Center. Throw a frozen gobbler to knock down as many pins as possible. Prizes awarded. Supervised by Falls High Student Council. Call Backus at 285-7225 for information. Disclaimer agreements required.
- 1 – 3:30 p.m. — “Frozen Fun” Come watch the magical animated Disney movie “Fozen” and indulge in some chilly treats at the Good Samritan Society on Keenan Drive
- 1 – 3 p.m. — Kids Activities. Free indoor fun for the kids at Backus Community Center. Supervised by Falls High School Student Council. 285-7225
- 1 – 4 p.m. — Bingo at the Moose Club 1259: Contact the Moose Club, 283-3615.
- 2:30 p.m. — KID SMOOSH Races return at Viking Bar. Kids 14 and under. Form a team with two kids per set of smoosh boards and be at the Viking Bar (Downtown Int’l Falls) by 2:15 pm. $20 to the winner! Everyone will receive a prize for participating! Contact Chris at 218-324-0391 for more information! Will supply kids’ Smoosh boards & hot treats!
- 3 p.m. — ADULT SMOOSH Races at Viking Bar. It’s time for the famous Icebox Days Smoosh Races. Form a team of four people per set of smoosh boards and be at the Viking Bar by 2:30 p.m. $100 from the Chamber of Commerce to the winner. Ages 15 and older! Contact Chris at 218-324-0391 for more information!
- 4 – 6 p.m. — Whist at the Moose Club 1259 $5 entry fee. Oven-fried chicken $12. Reservations please. Moose Club: 283-3615
- 6 p.m. — FIREWORKS by the City of International Falls!! Returning under the winter sky in Smokey Bear Park. Gather along Third Street area.
- 6 – 8 p.m. — Runners Reception at Border Bar and Pizza House, 415 Third Ave. Admission/food with provided blue ticket. First drink at 1/2 price for all runners with red ticket. Enjoy DVD of 2015 races, snacks, coffee, water. FREE for registered runners. Non-runners $5 fee for snacks. Cash bar, FAMOUS BEACH PARTY follows in same locale! Cool contests – Cool Prizes.
- 7 p.m. — RRCC Women’s Hockey vs NDSU – Bronco Arena
- 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. — The Famous Beach Party! Again at Border Bar and Pizza, 415 Third Ave. Zany contests! Come as you are or dress for the beach. Dance party is open to adults of legal drinking age.
- 9 p.m. — Live Band, ShackShakers at Union Hall The best redneck party around. Wear your camo and dance to awesome music by the Shackshakers from Duluth.
Monday, January 23, 2017
- 10:00 p.m. — RRCC Women’s Hockey vs NDSU – Bronco Arena
- 1:30 p.m. — Bridge Tournament (Duplicate Bridge) at First Lutheran Church. Cash prizes in Chamber Dollars by the Chamber of Commerce. Everyone welcome to participate, folks should come with a
partner. Contact Byrne & Carole Johnson at 218-286-5225.
- 1 – 4 p.m. – Hot Dog Roast at the Tilson Creek Ski Trailhead on Highway 11 east. Bring your cross country skis and enjoy a day on the Tilson Trail – Afterwards enjoy hot dogs and cocoa as you warm by a toasty bonfire. Cancelled if below 0ÞF. Polar Polers Ski Club: Teresa, 286-2036, for more information.
Welcome to the official site of the Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run® – one of the most distinctive foot races on the continent.
The 37th Annual Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run®
January 21, 2017
Rainy River Community College
(Start and Finish)
5K Fun Run: 9:30 a.m.
10K Race: 10:30 a.m.
Photo Courtesy of Chamber Member Capture Your Moment Photography, Jackie Briggs
Photo Courtesy of Chamber Member Capture Your Moment Photography, Jackie Briggs