41st Annual International Eelpout Festival Canceled
The International Eelpout Festival held annually on Leech Lake near Walker has been canceled this year after failing to reach an agreement with Cass County on how to enforce rules as festival attendance continues to grow.
The announcement came from Festival Headquarters on the International Eelpout Festival Facebook page Thursday morning.
According to the Facebook post, Festival Headquarters tried to work with the county for the past five months to develop a solution for the 41st annual International Eelpout Festival, saying, “We have come to an impasse on lake enforcement. Because we are the only permit holder required to supply services and clean up, and are not allowed to control the lake, the economics no longer work.”
They provided a proposal to move all commercial activity off the ice and into Downtown Walker. But the concept wasn’t going to allow for acceptable permit process for both parties, the Facebook post said.
Festival officials said, “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.”
The three-day festival was originally scheduled on February 20 to February 23. The post says there will be no fishing contest or on ice commercial activity from the festival.