Top 8 things to do at Musher Mania
By Kristen Bonk published December 20, 2016
27341 Ridgeland Avenue, Monee
Saturday, January 14th
The 23rd Annual Musher Mania in Monee offers the chance to enjoy the wonders of winter! This is a free event the whole family will enjoy! In partnership with the Siberian Husky Club of Greater Chicago, the Forest Preserve District of Will County will present demonstrations of mushing (dog sled racing) as well as many other fun activities. While this is a dog event, this is NOT a pet-friendly event, so please leave your pets at home so the Siberian Huskies can stay calm. Musher Mania will go on with or without snow. It’s a wonderful event for dog lovers, winter enthusiasts, and of course, people who want to see Siberian Huskies in action!
Below are the top eight ways you can celebrate dogs, winter and time with family and friends in Chicago Southland. Make certain to take pictures and tag them with #MusherMania in #ChicagoSouthland!
Click below to watch the 2015 Musher Mania Video
(Video by Cindy Cain of the Forest Preserve District Staff)
1. Watch, Cheer for & Learn about Siberian Husky Club Dog Teams
"Mush!" "Mush!" That's what you can yell out in excitement when the Musher, the driver of a dog sled, whizzes by with the cutest dogs doing what they do best - Running! Mushing has been around since 2000 B.C. and is considered to be a transportation method as well as a competitive sport. One of the more well-known mushing events is the Iditarod that takes place annually in Alaska. Musher Mania in Monee differs from the Iditarod because it's not a competition and focuses more on highlighting the beauty and power of the Siberian Husky dog. As you can see in the "Mushing in Detail" image from our 2014 blog post, the Musher relay commands to the team and sometimes runs behind the sled to speed it along. The Wheel dogs are placed directly ahead of the sled and tend to be the strongest dogs on the team. The Team dogs provide the "horsepower" of the team and help turn the sled. The Swing dogs follow the lead dogs and help set the pace and turn the sled around the corners. The Lead dogs are at the head of each team. They respond to the musher's commands, find and follow the trail and set the pace of the team. While older sleds are made out of wood, modern ones are built of space-age materials like Kevlar and titanium.
2. Meet and Greet the Sled Dogs
Pet, hug and maybe even receive a kiss from some of the cutest and most gentle dogs you'll ever meet. The Siberian Husky Club of Greater Chicago was established in 1973 and enjoys doing a wide variety of Siberian related activities, such as showing in conformation and obedience, dog sledding, Skijoring (another dog sled competition), therapy dog assistance and more. They have worked with the Forest Preserve District of Will County for the 23 years they've held this event, which is the longest running Mushing event in the Chicagoland area. (Photo: Glenn P. Knoblock of the Forest Preserve District Staff)
3. Ice Sculpting Show with "Cool Cubes"!
This has become one of the favorite winter traditions for kids at Musher Mania. There is an amazing ice sculpture demonstration where you learn how they make big blocks of ice. The "Cool Cubes" are small blocks of ice with toys hidden inside to be handed out to the kids. While it may be a crayon or a little plastic toy, it's one of the coolest wrapped gifts your child will ever receive! (Photo: Cindy Cain of the Forest Preserve District Staff)
4. Warm Up While Watching a Movie about Dogs!
Enjoy a special viewing of a family favorite, Disney's Snow Dogs presented by Swank Movie Productions Inc., in the Forest Preserve District's movie warming tent. Scouts will also be selling popcorn, apple fritters and hot drinks.
5. Try Snowshoeing
Snowshoeing provides the unique way to enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of a brisk winter day. It's actually really fun and challenging to run with these big snow shoes, that you might not be used to at first, but quickly get the hang of it. Keep in mind that the slower traffic should stay to the right of the trail and please don't be "that guy" who blocks the trail. According to Snowshoe Magazine, snowshoeing is THE fastest growing winter sport. The reasons that Snowshoe Magazine believes it's so great is that it "is easy to learn, virtually inexpensive, poses little risk of injury and is a great way to exert energy during the cold winter months."
6. Exhibit on the "Great Race to Nome"
Warm up inside the visitor center and see the exhibit about the “Great Race to Nome” and famous mushers in history. The exhibit will include interactive activities. The "Great Race to Nome" or also known in history as "The Great Race of Mercy" took place January 1925.
7. Winter Activities
Staff will have an assortment of arts and crafts, games and winter fun activities for the entire family to enjoy at the event.
The first 200 people to visit the Forest Preserve District’s warming tent will receive an annual “Musher Mania” thank you gift.
Click here for more information about Musher Mania.
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