January 23, 2014 at 1:53 p.m.

Celebration different? We think it will be better! Come out and see for yourself

Celebration different? We think it will be better! Come out and see for yourself
Celebration different? We think it will be better! Come out and see for yourself

It is finally here. This weekend, the Chisago Lakes Chamber will unveil our new Celebration of the Lakes event. It has been re-tooled, re-worked, refined, and re-booted. The COL committee has worked endless hours to make sure your family has a wonderful experience this year. So what is different? The obvious answer is no balloons. What?? Before you swear off the event in its entirety, you have to understand something. Every year the Chamber of Commerce pays a lot of money to the balloonists to come to the area. That included gas money, hotel, gas for the balloons, food, insurance, etc. On a good year (when the weather is perfect and people come out in droves) the chamber will recoup the balloon money via the food tent. But on a down year, such as the last five out of six years when the balloons do not fly, no balloons translated into no customers in the food tent. You get the picture. We all love the balloons as much as you do, but when the event is not profitable, its time to re-invent yourself. That is exactly what they have done.

I am super excited for this year's event. But let me begin by saying the celebration is NOT held on North Center Lake this year. They have moved it to South Lindstrom and Chisago Lake. The headquarters for the event will be at Beach Park in Lindstrom. Friday night things get rolling. Beginning with an ice fishing seminar at Lindstrom's Community Center. This is your chance to see how the pros do things from tying a knot to filleting a fish for frying. The seminar begins at 5 p.m. Immediately following the seminar, the annual COL Chili Cook-Off begins. It is a reception for the fishermen as well as the ever-popular chili contest. There is still time to enter your one of a kind family secret chili. To enter please call Shari at 257-9380 or Shane at 257-5113. Following the reception, the pros will take the stage and explain how they fish. You will also learn about the NAIFC which is the league that runs these pro tournaments. Saturday morning, if you have kids, please bring them to the Community Center at 10 a.m. for a FREE kids ice fishing camp.

They will learn from the pros the ins and outs of ice fishing and then they will head to the lake at 11 a.m. for an hour of fishing with the pros. I guarantee your kids will have a blast fishing with the pros. Beach Park will host a 5K run/walk on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. You can register at www.frontrunnerUSA. com. The food tent will also be up and running serving hot food and beverages. Bring your skates, there is family ice skating on a huge rink at Beach Park. Skating runs from 10 - 4 p.m. Be the lucky finder of the lost Medallion and you will have a crisp $100 bill in your pocket. Clues will be posted at Beach Park beginning at 11 a.m. and will be posted hourly until found. You must have a button to claim the prize. At noon, the hilarious Smoosh races begin.

Groups of four people strap their feet on 2x4 boards and try to maneuver a race course. You can register your team the day of the event. People are excited that the sled dog rides are back. The rides begin at noon and cost is $5 per ride. Also at noon, the kids carnival games take place. There are a few new games this year. At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Lions Ice Fishing Contest begins. Held on South Lindstrom Lake, the contest has great prizes as always and pre-drilled holes. Just bring your gear and good luck. The cost is $7 for adults and $3 per children per line. Also at 1 p.m. there is a golf tournament, and hayrides begin as well. As I mentioned last week, the schedule of events is listed on our website, just click on the Celebration of the Lakes tile ad and it will bring up the events.

Awards for the children's coloring contest as well as the medallion hunt winners and the fishing contest winners will be presented in the tent at 3:30 p.m. If your family gets hungry for a hot meal, there is a spaghetti dinner and a potato soup feed in the afternoon. Chisago Lake Lutheran will host the spaghetti dinner and auction from 4-7 p.m. and Lindstrom Methodist Church will be host to a pie and potato soup feed at 6 p.m. When it’s time to warm up and stay inside, come back to the community enter for a live band. Swing and A Miss will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. Swing and A Miss is a terrific local band that plays all types of music. I have seen them, trust me, they are wonderful. The show is free. Sunday the big fishing tournament begins. The tournament runs from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Please go to www.NAIFC.com to get all of the details.

Trinity Lutheran Church will hold its annual pancake breakfast beginning at 8 a.m. so come in, fill your belly and head out and watch some serious fishing. The fishermen will weigh in at 2 p.m. at Frankie's Bait and Marine in Chisago City. I know I have gotten wordy, but honestly, I think the new and improved Celebration of the Lakes is going to be great. Come on out!


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