UP 200 Sled Dog Marathon

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Start of the UP200 Sled Dog Marathon – Marquette, Michigan Upper Peninsula
Updated Jan 6, 2015

Friday night in Marquette thousands of people lined up along snow covered West Washington Street to watch the beginning of the UP200 Sled Dog Race, a qualifying competition for the famed Iditarod Alaskan race. Downtown businesses provided a festival atmosphere with music and entertainment plus several serving free hot chocolate and coffee. Frank Moe of Bemidji, Minnesota drew Bib #1 and starting position for the 24th running of the UP 200 (which is actually 240 miles in length).

Musher Frank Moe and his team of “athletes” roar out of the starting gate

Kevin Malikowski’s team running along the lower harbor

Sunday afternoon around 1 pm, Ryan Anderson of Ray, Minnesota crossed the finish line winning his fourth in a row and unprecedented UP 200 race. His neighbor Keith Ali also from Ray, Minnesota finished second. Ali had previously won the race three times. Ryan Reddington, who came all the way from Alaska to compete, finished third. Reddington’s grandfather was a founder of the famous Iditarod Sled Dog Marathon. Another Minnesotan, Troy Groeneveld finished fourth. Martin Koenig of Seeley Lake, Montana finished fifth.

We had a companion accompany us to the race: Flat Stanley – a paper cutout pal of our Grand Niece Kylah who is using Stanley as part of a school project. Stanley was there at the beginning and at the finish line.

Flat Stanley was there with Jo to watch the start of the race

Flat Stanley was also at the finish line to see Ray Anderson win the race

Restuarants & Dining in Marquette

Sunday afternoon Jo and I went searching for a place to have lunch downtown and discovered Donckers Restaurant. Donckers is a blend of a candy & confectionary store, an old tyme soda fountain, and deli restaurant serving a large variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner selections. Located downtown on West Washington Street a few blocks from the harbor. A funky place full of old fashioned character that has been well-earned since the establishment has been in business since 1896 and at this same location since 1914. The business was started by Fred Donckers as a simple, open air stand featuring candy, fresh fruit, tobacco and $.05 hot-buttered popcorn. As the business expanded, Fred moved indoors and built the current location adding a full service soda fountain and dining services.

Donckers soda fountain has all the “sweets” your tooth would want, including their own line of chocolate candies

Down the hall from the soda fountain is a coffee house atmosphere with a combo playing mellow tunes while others are playing board games

Jo had their Cheese Steak special and I had the Apollo Vegetarian sandwich. The sandwiches were delicious. Jo’s hot sandwich was thinly sliced beef with red peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cheese sauce was served hot and juicy and earned 5 stars. My veggie sandwich had ample portions of fresh, crisp vegetables- spinach, lettuce, onion, cucumber, and avocado spread – topped off with a slice of swiss cheese. Both of us had the veggie chips over the kettle chips. Pop was self-service in a large 20 oz tumbler.

Upstairs is the Deli with a decent variety of sandwiches, wraps, salads, and soups. After the order this couple received their pet rock placeholder!

We found a free table overlooking Washington Street. The retro table and chairs were quite comfortable. We didn’t have to wait long to exchange our rock for our food order.

The service is Deli style. You place your order and then are given a “pet rock” with a number on it as identifier of your order. When your meal is ready a staff member hunts you down, delivers your food and utensils, and retrieves the pet rock. We didn’t have to wait long for our order and it was served by friendly wait staff. It was apparent the staff has a good time and enjoys providing good and friendly service to customers. The prices are reasonable and made more so by the senior discount they gave us. We’ll definitely be back.