John Dee Snowfest returns for 8th year

ATLANTIC MINE – Snowmobilers from around the Midwest will come to the Copper Country this weekend to have fun and raise money for a good cause.

The eighth annual John Dee SnowFest takes place this Friday and Saturday, including self-guided backcountry snowmobile rides and poker runs, a fundraiser banquet and a karaoke night.

The money raised goes towards the Make-A-Wish foundation. This year’s recipient is Tom Olson from Mohawk, a 14-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis. His wish is to get a Polaris Razor ATV. Last year’s event raised $12,547.

John Dee, who puts on the event every year, said generosity is a way of life in the Copper Country.

“Every year when we contact local businesses to help support us, we are met with open arms and pocket books – even though we are just one of the many fundraising events that happen in this community every year,” he said. “I think that the Make-A-Wish Foundation also is a very popular and well-liked cause, and we are fortunate to be matched up with a local Wish Child almost every year, so there is a more personal side to the fundraising goal.”

Dee said the event also helps change negative perceptions of snowmobiling, which often pops up in connection with an accident or something else negative.

“Snowmobilers are some of the nicest and caring persons out there and year in, year out, we have a wonderful turn out by snowmobilers that want to do what they can to help,” Dee said. “Snowmobilers love to help others and also love getting together to socialize for a good cause.”

The main event is the Saturday banquet, which starts at 5 p.m. at the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine. Those who registered will get a free dinner and commemorative T-shirt. Registration has closed, but people can still show up to bid on silent auction items and participate in the raffle for donated items. The grand prize is a fully restored Ski-Doo TNT 340.

During the day Saturday, snowmobilers can also take part in self-guided snowmobile tours and a poker run, in which they collect cards from participating local businesses. The guided snowmobile tours from previous years have been canceled due to liability concerns.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the public can attend a karaoke party at the Mosquito Inn in Toivola. There will also be some items there raffled off, as well as a 50/50 raffle. All proceeds plus a percentage of the bar sales for the evening will go towards the funds raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.