Carp Fest coloring contest winners

Monday, December 24, 2012*
Carp Fest coloring contest winners
The Lucky the Carp Coloring Contest, in conjunction with Prairie du Chien Park and Recreation's Carp Fest, wrapped up recently. Entrants were asked to color this picture of Lucky and drop it off at City Hall or Hoffman Hall to be judged on Dec. 19.
The top three age group winners received awards, their art in the paper and multiple web pages.
Winners were: 6 & under— Landon Smethurst, age 5, Prairiedu Chien (red fish); 7-11 years old—Emily Kamenov, age 11, Prairie du Chien (blue fish); 12-17 years old—Lind- sey Nicholson, age 12, Eastman (green fish).
All colored pictures entered in the contest will be on display at Hoffman Hall during Carp Fest, Dec. 26-Jan. 1.
For a complete list of Carp Fest activities, visit With questions about Carp Fest or the New Year's Eve Droppin' of the Carp event, contact Mike Ulrich, parks and recreation director, at 326-7207.

*Courier Press, Dec. 24, 2012

Destination of the Day: Carp Fest*

Mississippi Valley Traveler

If you’ve tired of spending your New Year’s Eve watching a crystal ball do the same thing it does every year in the same place, maybe you need a change of scenery. How about watching the traditional Dropping of the Carp in Prairie du Chien (Wisconsin)? While it may lack the elegance of the famous Times Square event, it also lacks the huge crowds, so you may actually get to see the fated object drop. While you’re there, you can also watch the annual football game called the Carp Bowl. You can thank me later.

by Dean Klinkenberg on DECEMBER 24, 2012 in DESTINATION OF THE DAY

Top Ten New Year's Eve Drops

 Americans celebrate with...carp kisses
New Year’s Eve revelers wish for a year of good fortune during the Droppin’ of the Carp in Prairie du Chien, Wis. (pop. 5,911). At midnight, a frozen carp named Lucky descends on a giant fishhook onto a glittery “throne.”
Then party-goers line up to kiss the carp—caught in the nearby Mississippi River—for good luck in the coming year.
“Once people get loosened up a bit, there’ll be 50, 75, 100 people standing in line to kiss the fish,” says Tom Nelson, 69, chairman of the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission.
Lucky has inspired a weeklong festival featuring fishing, walking, swimming, bowling and coloring contests, a firefighters’ football Carp Bowl, and the crowning of King and Queen Carp. The fish even inspired the creation of Lucky Park where, come spring, the honorary carp is buried alongside his numbered namesakes.

Read more:

Prairie du Chien carp drop is just tip of iceberg*

New York City drops a crystal ball - ever so slowly - starting a minute before the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31 in Times Square. Roughly a million people show up to celebrate the start of the new year.
Not to be outdone, the Mississippi River town of Prairie du Chien, population 6,000, drops a 40-pound frozen carp from a tall crane starting at 11:59 p.m.
Yup, a carp.
There's more: The "Droppin' of the Carp" festivities begin at 9 p.m. Dec. 31 on Blackhawk Ave. in downtown Prairie du Chien with a bonfire, music, light show, fireworks and the (drum roll please) crowning of a carp king and queen.
Why, there's even a carp-coloring contest for the kids, as well as a gang of other activities leading up to the big drop.
You can give the frozen fish, named "Lucky," a big kiss on the lips. The kiss is supposed to bring you good fortune for the coming year. The celebration nearly increases the town's population by half, attracting several thousand people who come to commune with the carp.
According to Mike Ulrich, head of Prairie du Chien's parks and recreation department, the festival is the brainchild of local Tom Nelson. Nelson and his wife, Cathy, so the story goes, came up with the idea around a dozen years ago while traveling in through Atlanta, where New Year's has been celebrated with the dropping of a huge (8-foot by 8-foot) peach since 1989.
The Nelsons put their heads together and thought they could transplant the fest back home but wanted to give it a local flavor, Ulrich said. The result was Lucky the carp. (In Japan, carp - specifically the colorful koi carp - are viewed as symbols of good luck and prosperity.)
"Basically it was a way to have some fun on New Year's Eve, and it's expanded from there with activities leading up to the 31st," Ulrich said. "Though it can be pretty chilly at times, the carp drop really fills up the town. Then again, last year it was quite balmy."
And what happens to Lucky after New Year's? Ulrich said he stays in a freezer all winter and then is planted under a new tree in the appropriately named Lucky Park come spring.

 * Brian E. Clark is a Madison writer and photographer. Journal Sentinnel, 

Lucky and Protege' ready for the Big Evening!

Article by Ted Pennekamp*
The Droppin' of the Carp on New Year's Eve is less than a month away, and in preparation for the event, Lucky the Carp was caught in the Mississippi River on Nov. 28 by Prairie du Chien commercial fisherman Mike Valley and crew.

Lucky and several of his family members were apprehended at approximately 4:04 p.m. on a beautiful day with flat water on Big Lake.

In fact, Valley noted that there was about an inch of ice on all of Big Lake that day.

"The set was made in the same area as last year," said Valley. "But, last year the fish came out on the west side, and this year they .. came out on the east, so the catch was about half.'> Even so, Valley, Brian Dillman, Lindsey Nicholson, and Faith Dillman teamed up to catch about 1,100 pounds of carp, two sheepshead ,and two buffalo.

"The girls were by far the better fish herders than the boys," said Valley.

Two finalists were picked out from all of the candidates for Lucky. Faith and Lindsey then chose the better looking of the two carp for the high honor. After all, many people kiss Lucky each year at the world famous Droppin' of the Carp eventat the entrance to St. Feriole Island in Prairie du Chien. The runner-up candidate was smoked the next day. 

*Courier Press, December 3, 2012
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.
Additional Information: Contact Prairie du Chien Tourist Info 1-800-732-1673 (