By Correne Martin **
Courier Press December 14, 2016
At the formal carp drop, there will be snowmobile rides provided by the Cliffhangers Snowmobile Club (if there is snow) and a pyrotechnics show and huge bonfire, as usual. Carp samples will be available for tasting as well.
Around 2,500 to 3,500 people are expected to fill up the park, spilling out into the streets, around midnight for the official Droppin’ of the Carp. Alongside the Nelsons and Ulrich, Carpmaster Shawn Redman will lead the festivities alongside King and Queen Kenny and Jan Meyer. Mayor Dave Hemmer will be there and, likely, some governmental dignitaries.
In addition to the fun the night of the carp drop, Carp Fest actually kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 26, with youth ice fishing fun and snowmobile rides (if there’s snow/ice) from 9 to 11 a.m. at Washington Street Park. A low-cost family open gym and swim will be offered at Hoffman Hall, from 1 to 4 p.m. (Saturday through Thursday). Then, from 4 to 6 p.m., there will be a lit trail/sledding hill and bonfire at La Riviere Park—rain (snow) or shine.
On Sunday, Dec. 27, there will be a disc golf tournament at 10 a.m. at St. Feriole Island. All are welcome to participate. On Monday, Dec. 28, a euchre tournament is open to the public, from 1 to 4 p.m., at city hall. “A lot of people show up for euchre. Last year, we brought in extra tables. We give cash and prizes,” Ulrich said.
On Tuesday, Dec. 29, a bowling party will highlight the day, from noon to 3 p.m. at Leisure Time Sports Bar and Bowl. The bowling alley is usually packed for this family-oriented activity.
Wrapping up the week will be the Early Bird Droppin’ of the Carp Party, beginning at 6:30, and the official Droppin’ of the Carp at midnight. A New Year’s Day Rotary Breakfast will cap the festival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Huckleberry’s Restaurant.
“It’s all a small town Midwest ploy,” Nelson said of the entire festival. “It’s not the big crystal ball in New York City. It is quirky. It is out of the ordinary. The fish represents the river and it’s obviously a tourist attraction.”
So bring your friends and family and come together with the rest of the community for New Year’s and this year’s Carp Fest. A kiss or not, may Lucky bring you the best of luck for 2016.