International Eelpout Festival In Walker Has Been Canceled
It's a festival that has taken place in Nothern Minnesota since 1979, the International Eelpout Festival in Walker Minnesota, won't be taking place this year after the festival and the County couldn't come together on a solution for lake enforcement.
According to a Facebook post to the events social media page, the impasse was the impetus behind the cancellation of the 41st annual Eelpout Festival.
The social media post went on to state that the costs for certain services that the festival has provided have gone up and the County in the festival's opinion has changed requirements and costs frequently.
"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." -International Eelpout Festival Post
Explore Minnesota still lists the festival on its website and describes the event as "For three days every February, crowds that are more than 10 times the population of tiny Walker, Minnesota, gather on Minnesota’s third-largest lake, Leech Lake, for a festival named for one of the ugliest bottom-dwelling fish, the eelpout."
In an article from the Star Tribune, Cass County Administrator Josh Stevenson stated that 'he wasn’t aware of the issues raised by festival organizers.'
Stevenson cited changes in fish designation for the Eelpout, and the weather from festivals past is more of a culprit than Cass County for the cancellation of the festival this year.