2018-02-01 / News

Snowmobile Parade Thursday at Sault Ste. Marie Aims for World Record

By Erich T. Doerr

Sault Ste. Marie is seeking snowmobilers for its Thursday, February 1, attempt to set the world record for the largest snowmobile parade ever. The parade is designed to tie in with both the 50th anniversary running of the International 500 snowmobile race Saturday, February 3, and this year’s 350th anniversary of Sault Ste. Marie as a whole. The parade will make its way though downtown Sault Ste. Marie toward the I-500 race track at 2 p.m.

The Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitors Bureau is organizing the procession. The parade will need at least 1,048 snowmobiles to break the world record. The existing record of 1,047 sleds was set during a parade in Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada in February 2015 during the World Snowmobile Invasion.

More than 500 sleds had already registered as of last week. Mary Jo DuVall, the event coordinator for Sault Events, said the decision to take a shot at the record was made to embrace the fact that the I-500 race will bring many snowmobilers to the city while celebrating its history.

The parade will feature four staging areas where snowmobilers will gather in advance of the procession. They will be located at the Antlers Restaurant, Dondee Lanes, Kewadin Casino, and a location near South Street alongside Ashmun Bay. When the parade begins, all of the snowmobiles will leave their staging areas to gather downtown at the corner of Ashmun Street and Water Street before coming south on Ashmun. The procession will turn right onto 8th Avenue as it makes its way over to the racetrack. A collection of vintage snowmobiles will lead the parade, including “The Puffer,” the 1969 Ski-Doo that won the first running of the I-500.

The sleds will gather after the parade in the track’s parking lot. The parade route is about two miles long. Those who participate in the parade will receive a commemorative pin, free snowmobile parking at the I-500 track Thursday, and admission to the Woody’s Challenge exhibition snowmobile race that night.

“This is going to be a great day,” Mrs. DuVall said. “It should be an amazing sight to watch all these sleds going through our downtown.”

The parade is open to all snowmobilers with a valid drivers license. All snowmobiles in the procession must be registered for the event. Registration can be done online in advance at saultstemarie.com or at the Antlers from 9 a.m. to noon on the day of the parade. The cost of registration is $5 in advance or $10 on parade day. Those who register in advance online will need to stop by the Antlers to re-register again Thursday. All participants will make their way to a staging area after registering, with the sleds departing from their staging areas toward the start line between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Snowmobiles participating in the parade do not need to be registered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources or have a trail permit, although if that is the case then they can only be used during the parade itself.

In-person registration on the day of the parade is essential because the information collected will include items that cannot be taken online, specifically driver’s licenses and sled registrations. Money collected from sled registration will be used to offset the costs of the event. Local residents will also be able to register Wednesday, January 31, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Sault Ste. Marie City Hall. The parking lot of the Soo’s now shuttered Kmart store will be available for additional truck and trailer parking related to the parade.

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