MOORHEAD - A few parts of the country enjoy iconic signs of spring. Some places rely on swallows, while others look to grumpy groundhogs.

But for Fargo-Moorhead, the promise of spring has a near-sacred treat yourself rite.

It doesn’t matter if it's still the freezin’ season, come Monday, March 1, metro area residents will shiver their way to the front of the line at the Moorhead Dairy Queen to order their favorite frozen treat.

Preparing for the cone, sundae, and Blizzard eating hordes, owners Troy and Diane DeLeon were in the shop Tuesday, Feb. 23, filling the freezers for the annual rite of denying frostbite.

They had already handmade 1,800 Dilly Bars, 350 Buster Bars and 124 DQ cakes, as well as DQ sandwiches and other treats.

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Frozen cakes fill a freezer at the Moorhead Dairy Queen. The owners of the frozen treat shop are busy building up stock for the Monday, March 1, opening. (Photo courtesy of Moorhead Dairy Queen)
Frozen cakes fill a freezer at the Moorhead Dairy Queen. The owners of the frozen treat shop are busy building up stock for the Monday, March 1, opening. (Photo courtesy of Moorhead Dairy Queen)

“It took my son and I two days to make” the cakes, Troy said. “We like having them homemade, fresh from our machines. It makes quite a bit of difference in taste.”

The shop at 24 8th St. S. also serves hot items, including barbecue sandwiches, hot dogs, chili and chili dogs.

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The 1949-vintage walk-up store is one of the oldest in the Dairy Queen system, opened by Bob and Phyllis Litherland 72 years ago. The DeLeon’s took over the shop 26 years ago.

“We work well together as a team,” Diane said. “We were trained by the founders, Bob and Phyllis, and we try to work hard to honor their tradition.”

Troy said Monday’s forecast of 32 degrees “will be very nice” compared to years past, when temperatures dived below zero and a Dilly Bar could just as easily be called a Chilly Bar.

“This is beautiful,” he said. “We have the patio cleared.”

Meanwhile, work continues at another Moorhead treatery, the former Tastee Freez at 410 19th St. S.

Owner Jessica Malvin announced last fall that the popular eatery had lost its Tastee Freez franchise, but vowed to come back "bigger and better" in the spring.

Malvin said Wednesday, Feb. 22, that she expects to open under a new name and logo March 20, the first day of spring.