The "Ice Fishing Capital of the World" is gearing up to host the 37th annual Rhinelander Lions Club Fisheree.
This staple winter event has been expanded to become more than just a fishing tournament. Winter Fest is now a part of the mid-winter scene on Boom Lake.
Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lara Reed said the chamber is preparing for the festivities. There's plenty to do.
"We manage the broomball tournament so we've got stuff like team registrations coming in that we're doing - as well as just trying to get the word out," Reed said. "As far as ticket sales for the Fisheree, they're happening right now too. It's one of those things that, as we get closer, it always seems that there's last-minute things to do, but we're definitely in full-swing getting ready."
The chamber is just one of the outlets for ticket sales. Reed said they were selling a few.
"We've had a couple of inquiries and we've had a couple of people coming in buying a few tickets and asking. We generally sell most of the tickets that last week right before ... People are last-minute planners, but we've started to see some of the tickets moving."
The Fisheree expanded to include the Winter Festival last year. New activities were added - including some friendly competition other than the fishing.
"This year will be the second annual broomball tournament and the second annual Hodag Snow Dash, the five-K snowshoe race that we did as well," Reed said. "And we'll hopefully also have some of the demonstrations with snowshoes, potentially some cross-country skis. It all kind of just depends on the weather at this point."
The new activities have made the popular fisheree into something more.
"We're excited to continue a bigger event and a more, as we call it, festival-like atmosphere with stuff happening all weekend that's not just for fishermen, but for other community members who want to get involved in a different way," Reed said.
Reed said the new events did well their inaugural year. Several entities are involved in managing the competitions.
"The Y(MCA) manages the snowshoe race part and we manage the broomball, along with the Soccer Club - they help with the broomball portion and I think all of us were extremely pleased and surprised," Reed said. "We got a lot of great comments, and a lot of great feedback following the events."
There will be minor changes for 2013.
"We tweaked some stuff," Reed said. "Last year, we had all of the extra stuff on Saturday and this year we're splitting it up. We're going to do broomball on Saturday and the snowshoe race on Sunday. It allows for more all weekend long, plus there's another snowshoe race in town that weekend - so we missed a conflict there as well."
The Lions Fisheree will be headquartered at the Boom Lake public boat landing at Hodag Park.
Adults and children are welcome to participate at the Fisheree. Prizes will be awarded to paid entrants. Prizes for include $500 each day for the longest northern, $200 each day for the second longest northern and $100 for the third longest northern.
Additional prizes for walleye, perch, crappie and bluegill will be given. Entry tickets are $10 per adult. Entry tickets will be sold until 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. Entry tickets for those 11 years old or younger can be purchased any time prior to the fishing event for $2.
Adult entry tickets qualify participants for a drawing for a fishing shelter or power auger that will be held 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10. Entrants need not be present to win.
Separate prizes will be awarded for 11 year old and younger participants. Those under 11 are not eligible for cash prizes and will be awarded merchandise.
Fishing is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be daily kids prizes, raffles, and food.
Proceeds from the Lions Fisheree will fund Lions Club projects including the Christmas Not Alone Dinner, Head Start Christmas Party, July Kiddie Parade, Lions Club eye and diabetes programs and other youth and civics programs.
For more information on the Fisheree and Winter Festival contact the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce at (715) 365-7464, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go online to www.explorerhinelander.com.
Tickets for the Lions Club Fisheree can be purchased at Mel's Trading Post, West Side Shell, the Chamber of Commerce, Kemp Street BP, Bait Shoppe, Hodag Pump & Pantry, Holiday Station Stores, Kemp Street Marathon, River Street Tap, Pat's Tavern, The Fishing Hole, and Antigo Rental Center.
Craig Turk may be reached at email@example.com.
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