After an impasse in discussions with the county, organizers of what was planned to be the 41st Eelpout Festival in Walker, MN have pulled their lines out of the water and cancelled this years event.
Organizers posted the following message on their website:
Greetings from Festival Headquarters
It’s with a heavy heart we announce the cancelation of the International Eelpout Festival for this season. Over the years, attendance has multiplied substantially. Each year with more attendees, equals – more traffic, more trash and more safety concerns. After trying to work with the county for the past 5 months to develop a solution for this year’s event, we have come to an impasse on lake enforcement. Because we are the only permit holder required to supply services and clean up, and are not allowed to control the lake, the economics no longer work. We provided a concept/proposal to move all commercial activity off the ice and into Downtown Walker, and this too was not going to allow for acceptable permit process for both parties. In the past years we committed tens of thousands of dollars on lake clean up annually plus supplied services such as porta-potties, ice road maintenance and trash pick-up. Unfortunately, the costs of all these items are rising and the inability to enforce clean up and participation for all festival goers, attendees and vendors it is no longer feasible to operate the festival under the County requirements that change and increase every year. This year there will be no fishing contest or on ice commercial activity from the festival. We will NOT supply ice roads, porta potties or trash removal during what would historically be the Festival weekend. We have had a great ride and appreciate all of you loyal “POUTERS” over the years and thank you for your support.
Bummer for sure, although it’s no secret that along with the increase in attendance has come the increased scrutiny about the absolute mess attendees leave on the lake as well. One could say the ‘pouters’ put themselves and ultimately, the future of the even on thin ice.