Our favorite 20 photos from the Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage

The 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race held its ceremonial start in Anchorage on Saturday, March 7, 2020. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)

Dozens of mushers and hundreds of sled dogs paraded through Anchorage on Saturday for the ceremonial start of the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. In temperatures in the teens, the teams glided across 11 miles of snowy city streets and trails. People gathered along the route to watch — handing out high-fives and even hot dogs to mushers.

On Sunday, the race is officially on: The 57 teams will leave Willow at two-minute intervals starting at 2 p.m.

Here are our favorite 20 photos from Saturday’s ceremonial start.

[Related: Subscribe to the Iditapod podcast to catch our latest trail updates and race analysis.]

Musher Jeremy Keller’s sled dog leaps into the air. (Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)
Defending Iditarod champion Pete Kaiser gets help from his dad, Ron, while putting on his race bib. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Joar Leifseth Ulsom at his dog truck before the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start gets underway. Leifseth Ulsom won the Iditarod in 2018 and placed second last year. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Lance Mackey unloads his mushing gear at the Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage. The four-time Iditarod champion placed 26th in last year’s race. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Sarah Jane is a 5-year-old dog on Iditarod musher Meredith Mapes’ team. Mapes, of Palmer, said Sarah Jane is the queen of the dog yard. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Musher Sean Underwood is taking over the sled dog team of four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King. King underwent emergency surgery days before the Iditarod ceremonial start. He tapped Underwood, one of his handlers, to fill in.(Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski talks to Iditarod musher Wade Marrs in downtown Anchorage. Marrs, of Willow, placed 14th in last year’s race. This year, he says, his goal is to win. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
The soundtrack of downtown Anchorage on Saturday morning: Dog barks and howls. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Iditarod mushers and twins Anna and Kristy Berington prepare for the 2020 Iditarod ceremonial start. They run the aptly-named Seeing Double Sled Dog Racing kennel out of Knik. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Rookie musher Mille Porsild of Denmark eyes a hotdog offered to her on the Chester Creek trail during a “trailgate” party. The handoff was successful. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)
Mushers, sled dogs and spectators line 4th Avenue for the 2020 Iditarod ceremonial start. Some wore elaborate furs. (Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)
Iditarod rookie Martin Massicotte, of Canada, steers his team through downtown Anchorage. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Vino, a Jack Russell Chihuahua mix, spectates at the 2020 Iditarod ceremonial start. Vino and its owner, Billie Jo Mendoza, were visiting from Cincinnati. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)
At 79 years old, Jim Lanier, of Chugiak, is the oldest musher in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. This is Lanier’s 21st Iditarod start. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Andy Pohl, the husband of musher Kristy Berington, helps with the sled dog team at the 2020 Iditarod ceremonial start in Anchorage. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Iditarod fans gather in downtown Anchorage on Saturday, including the “K-9 ferries.” (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Richie Diehl, of Aniak, hangs out with his sled dog team in downtown Anchorage, waiting for the Iditarod ceremonial start to begin. This is Diehl’s eighth Iditarod. He placed 11th last year. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Iditarod musher Ramey Smyth navigates his team down a busy 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage. Smyth, of Willow, placed 8th in last year’s Iditarod. His best finish is second in 2011. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
Musher Jessica Klejka talks with friends, family and fans at the Iditarod ceremonial start. Klejka grew up in Bethel, and now works as a veterinarian in both Bethel and Big Lake. This is her second Iditarod. (Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)
Next stop for these dogs: The official race start in Willow. (Joey Mendolia/Alaska Public Media)
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