GRAND PORTAGE -- Due to the sustained warm weather leading up to this weekend, the 19th annual Easter Seals Snowarama looked a little different on Saturday.
The lack of snow meant shorter trails and snowmobilers weren’t able to ride as much as they normally would. However, that didn’t stop the roughly 80 participants from Northwestern Ontario and Northern Minnesota from showing up and raising as much money as they could in support of children and youth with disabilities.
Over $29,000 was raised for Easter Seals Kids this year. The event has raised more than $575,000 over the last 18 years.
Funds go to help purchase mobility equipment, communication devices, and also provide summer camp opportunities.
Rhonda Harrison, Easter Seals’ northern region manager, said it's been amazing seeing the event grow.
“We had a great turnout,” she said.
“A lot of people out there are just coming out and are going to hang out at the casino for the weekend and show their support of Easter Seals and donating and participating wherever they can.”
Participants usually have two snowmobiling routes to choose from - a 120-mile one or a 35-mile one. However this year, snowmobilers only had about 12 miles of Minnesota trails to ride.
Tony Swader, Grand Portage trail ride volunteer, said they were working tirelessly to ensure attendees had some kind of riding experience.
“We had the groomers out. We got the trails flat. It was not going to be a racetrack, but it should have been very enjoyable,” he said. “I'm so happy that all these people came out to help the kids.”