International Eelpout Festival Organizers Release Statement
After word spread Friday of the possible change in location from Walker to Bemidji, organizers for the International Eelpout Festival have released a statement via the festival’s Facebook page.
“In light of recent media reports and social media commentary referencing the location/dates of the 2018 International Eelpout Festival, we want to clarify that event organizers continue to explore any and all options to ensure a feasible future for the festival. We are committed to providing a top-notch experience for our host community, patrons and event sponsors and partners. We have been in discussions with Walker officials, as well as community leaders in other potential locations, to identify the best course of action for the long-term growth, community support and sustainability of this unique event. No final decisions have been made at this juncture, as the collective effort of numerous city/county offices demands a thorough and patient approach. No matter the location, the 2018 International Eelpout Festival will take place in February however the exact dates cannot be confirmed at this time. Further details will be officially announced in weeks to come. Thank you for your patience and patronage!”
Last week, Eelpout officials submitted an application to Beltrami County for approval of a permit to hold the festival on Lake Bemidji in 2018.
The Beltrami County Planning Commission will present the application to the county board on Tuesday, October 17.
The Eelpout Festival was first held on Leech Lake in Walker in February of 1979 and has continued there since then. According to the Eelpout Festival website, the event draws more than 10,000 people to Walker each winter for a fishing tournament in pursuit of the eelpout fish. The festival also includes many other activities beyond the fishing tournament and is regarded as a quirky event honoring one of the ugliest bottom-dwelling fish.