Editorial: 50th Annual Jamboree Promises to Delight
Left, Courtney Carpenter of Stevens Point, then 5 years old, ice fishing in 2013. (City-Times photo)
Show goes on Saturday sans ice fishing contest
By Brandi Makuski
The Izaak Walton Winter Jamboree is often a “who’s who” of local society. Past jamborees have typically brought current and previous mayors, members of the city council and county board, well- known business owners and of course, regular folks from all walks of life. This year’s event promises to be even bigger than years past, largely because it’s the first since McDill Pond has been refilled, and also because this year marks the event’s 50th run.
The event, which is free and open to the public, runs from noon to 4 PM and is accessible by the Patch Street entrance of the McDill Pond. You can’t miss the sign.
Unfortunately the group isn’t holding a fishing contest this year, which historically has been a big draw. According to Izaak Walton League Board Member Mike Wiza, the group only recently finished restocking McDill Pond with fingerling fish. Since the pond sat dry for two years while a leaky McDill Dam was being assessed and repaired, the group wants to give the fish and aquatic environment a chance to fully recover before sponsoring a fishing contest. Fishing won’t be prohibited this year, Wiza said, it just won’t be encouraged.
The event appeals to all socio-economic backgrounds, political affiliations, education levels, ages and creeds. There’s a warming tent where event-goers can partake in beer, hot chocolate and burgers cooked onsite. Music is played over loudspeakers. Raffle winners are constantly being announced. Kids typically bring their sleds and create makeshift sledding hills leading down to the frozen lakebed.
While the stereotype label “redneck” seems to accompany just about any event hosted by the members of the Bill Cook Chapter of the Izaak Walton (and it’s true most of their members can fix just about anything with duck tape and a pocketknife), these events are hosted by some of the nicest and most helpful people you’ll ever meet from the Stevens Point Area, and each of their events also seem to be a hit with the general public. Every October the Highway 66 clubhouse grounds are packed with costumed families for haunted hayrides, haunted houses and good food, each July the club’s archery range is filled with families for the adult and supervised kiddie shooting ranges and every February the grounds of McDill Pond at the Patch Street entrance are just as packed.
This year’s jamboree should be no exception: after the past few weeks of unbearable bitter cold temperatures and seemingly unending snowfall, Central Wisconsin residents should be flocking to any outdoor event in the forecasted high of 19 balmy degrees on Saturday.
This year attendees can expect snow/ice sculpture demonstrations, snowshoeing, snow- bowling, some big- ticket raffle items and lots of kid’s activities. Former mayor Jim Feigelson will be reportedly cooking burgers, which brings to my mind the possibility of our current mayor, Andrew Halverson, donning a greasy apron to flip patties for next year’s event. What do you say, Mr. Mayor?
A kids raffle will be held separately from the regular raffle, which this year boasts prizes to include $50-$1,000 in cash as well as some big ticket items including a Remington 700 BDL 30.06 rifle, Stihl chainsaw, Mossberg O/U shotgun, Eskimo power auger, Troy Bilt pressure washer and other items.
The Izaak Walton League of America is a nonprofit conservation organization. For further information click here.