Celebrating spring’s arrival with a cone at one of the oldest Dairy Queens in Minnesota

Person holds ice cream
The first blizzards of the season are served Thursday at the downtown Moorhead Dairy Queen, a yearly opening day tradition for locals.
Amy Felegy | MPR News

March 1 may be the first day of meteorological spring. But in Moorhead, it’s perhaps better known as Historic Moorhead Dairy Queen Day, designated by the city in 2019.

The beloved 75-year-old ice cream shop’s “open” sign is once again lit after a winter off duty.

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People line up for goodies at the Moorhead Dairy Queen on Thursday.
Amy Felegy | MPR News

The store typically reopens March 1, but under waning daylight, folks lined up Thursday for an early Leap Day opening — replete with winter jackets and mittens, shuffling down the icy sidewalk for a hot fudge malt.

Every year, even in temperatures not as friendly as this round’s, families line up around the block into the neighboring parking lot.

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A dog sits next to a waving cow statue
Moxie the dog enjoys a pup treat at the Moorhead Dairy Queen on Thursday.
Amy Felegy | MPR News

“I’m going to get a medium Oreo and Butterfinger blizzard,” said Ariana Majewski, 11, wearing shorts in the 30-something-degree weather.

Ahead of her in line was Moorhead resident Mikayla Sailer, in line for a curly shake.

“I think it’s something they only offer here, I hear. It’s pretty good — it’s like a malt base and then ice cream float on top,” Sailer said. “It was open a day early and we said, ‘You know we just need a little treat.’ It’s a day for a little treat.”

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Employees hustle at the Moorhead Dairy Queen on Thursday during its opening night for the 2024 season.
Amy Felegy | MPR News

Its website claims to be “one of the original stores” of all the DQs and is home to the first Dilly Bar, still hand-dipped per tradition.

Dairy Queens across the state are also showing signs of spring, including the old-fashioned walk-up spot on Lexington Avenue in Roseville. It opened for the season this week.

People line up at Dairy Queen in the dark
Moorhead's Dairy Queen is home to the first Dilly Bar, still hand-dipped per tradition.
Amy Felegy | MPR News

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Correction (March 1, 2024): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Moorhead was the first Dairy Queen in Minnesota. The above story has been updated.