'Droppin of the Carp' going strong for year five

2005 - The Courier Press
The Carp Drop is celebrating the fifth year of the "Drop." To celebrate year number 5, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has proclaimed December 31, 2005, as Carp Drop Day in the State of Wisconsin. Mayor Cheryl Mader will be presenting the proclamation at the Carp Drop for Gov. Doyle


The festivities begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday with the Carp Bowl football game on St. Feriole Island. The contest will be between Prairie du Chien Firemen and the New Albin, IA Fire Department. The winning team will be awarded $500 for their fire department.

At 9 p.m. bonfires will be lit. Hot chocolate and chili will be available. Tee-shirts will be on sale throughout the night.

Beginning at 10:30 p.m. the street will be blocked off for two children's pinata games. The pinata's are filled with candy, toys and money. There is an age division for the littlest children. Carpettes will also be having a contest of skill for any of the brave people huddled around the bonfires.

At 11:30 p.m. will be the welcome and the crowning of the Carp King and Queen. Larry and the Carpettes will perform, ticket prizes will be awarded and the countdown to midnight will begin.

At midnight, as the carp has reached it's descent, songs such as the traditional Auld Lang Syne will play, as well as the Pledge of Allegiance and God Bless America. Fireworks will also be displayed for all to enjoy.

The beginning of 2006 will kick off with the Carp Plunge at 12:15. The plunge will be held near Lucky's Bait Shop. Anyone wanting to participate should be sure to check in with the Plunge Master and also remember to pick up a souvenir towel to commemorate the act of bravery.

The first year of the celebration brought national headlines to the city of Prairie du Chien. People came from various parts of the state and country to attend. Last year, a count was taken to see where people came from. There were people from many cities in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois as well as Indiana, Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee.

One couple had been at the Blues Fest, read about the Drop, and felt they had to return to see it. There is a family from St. Paul who has come every year with their children to celebrate the beginning of the new year.

Tom Nelson was in Arizona this past fall and was handing out Carp Membership cards at a restaurant. The waitress became excited because her boss was from Wisconsin and had already told her all about it.

This year's shirts are printed and the slogan is "This year is five and that's no jive." Be sure to pick up a carp shirt and be ready for the activity. Carp shirts are on sale at Hamann's, Himrich's, Valley Fish and Simply.

January - 2002

January 2, 2002
'Carpy Diem'
After weeks of hard work and planning, organizers of the inaugural Dropping of the Carp deemed the event a success and are already saying the second annual dropping of the carp is a "go" for next year.
Tom Nelson of the Dropping of the Carp Committee says they were astounded by the publicity the event received across the state and nation, and it is an example of promoting the fun we can have in our city.

Nelson said they received about seven nominations for the honor of Carp King and eight for Carp Queen (not including the nominations of men for the position of queen which were submitted by the folks at "Sny Magill University.")
Don Valley was named Carp King, based upon his nomination letters, and his great-niece Crystal Valley was named Carp Queen. The king and queen represented three generations of a traditional river family which has a long history in the city.
The carp was named "Lucky" and Nelson said that all future carps will likely also have that name, kind of like Sun Prairie's "Jimmy the Groundhog."
The contest event yielded a theme as well - "Carpe Diem," which mean "seize the day" in Latin. The Dropping committee changed this to "Carpy Diem" just for fun.
The name the carp contest had more than 300 entries of 200 different names from area school children.
Derek Dressler and Jonathan Lochner were recognized for coming up with the names.
Lucky was prepared for the event by Mike Valley, and even sported a crown.
The fish was lowered from a crane boom which extended 102 feet into the sky. Dan Gingerich of McGregor donated the use of the crane.
Nelson said that plans are already underway for next year's event, and "Lucky Jr." the carp for next year's drop will likely be grown in a tank at Old Will's Bait Shanty.
The crowd also enjoyed 25 pounds of smoked carp and several even participated in the Carp Plunge.

National Scenic Byways

December 31, 2008 - New Year's Eve Annual Carp-dropping on Wisconsin's Great River Road

The city of Prairie du Chien will welcome the new year with its annual "Droppin' of the Carp" event near Wisconsin's Great River Road. The 25 to 30-pound carp, nicknamed "Lucky," will be lowered onto a throne to ring in the new year in front of a celebratory crowd on New Year's Eve, 2008.

The event will begin at 9 p.m. at the entrance of St. Feriole Island, Blackhawk Ave. in Prairie du Chien and will include bonfires and entertainment. The countdown will begin at 11:40 p.m., and after the carp drop, people can take pictures with Lucky and enjoy fireworks.

Following the New Year's Eve celebration, the Prairie du Chien Rotary Club will hold a New Year's Day Brunch fundraiser. The brunch will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Huckleberry's Restaurant, 1916 Marquette Rd, Prairie du Chien. For more information, call 608-326-5488.

'Spoof' spawns 4-day celebration

Telegraph Herold
December 29, 2009
A 30-pound frozen carp -- crowned and clothed -- will be lowered by crane on New Year's Eve.
BY CRAIG D. REBER TH STAFF WRITER
Prairie du Chien, Wis., Carp Fest 2009-2010 will take place Monday, Dec. 28, through Thursday, Dec. 31.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. -- What began as a joke has become a four-day celebration that's attracted national attention.

Tom Nelson and his wife, Cathie, organized the inaugural Droppin' of the Carp in 2001. He never thought the event would become so popular. Hundreds of people cheer as a 3-foot, 30-pound frozen fish is lowered via crane on Blackhawk Avenue at the entrance of St. Feriole Island.

"Our intent was a spoof," Nelson said. "We never thought we'd be going at it nine years later."

Nelson expected 25 to 50 people to show up in 2001, but 300 to 400 came. More than 2,000 came last year.

The four-day Carp Fest climaxes with the dropping of "Lucky" -- crowned and clothed -- a little before midnight on Thursday.

It takes about 2 1/2 minutes to lower the carp from a tall, portable crane.

Another tradition, which began about five years ago, is the kissing of the carp -- before or after the drop -- for good luck, Nelson said. The first year, about three or four people puckered up. Nelson said last year, several
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hundred people kissed the fish.

Nelson thinks the event even spawns matrimony. The 2007 and 2008 festival kings and queens married each other this year.

"Those single people looking for 'Mr. or Ms. Right' might be able to find them with the kissin' of the carp," Nelson said.
A fun-filled event intent on bringing friends, family, and community together for the New Year! Proceeds going to Dropping the Carp Fund and City Park and Recreation Youth Enrichment/Hoffman Hall Activities.
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Additional Information: Contact Prairie du Chien Tourist Info 1-800-732-1673 (www.prairieduchien.org)