Jay Copp 2017-10-16 14:43:25
CATCHING TONS OF FUN AT THE FISHERMAN’S PICNIC Forty miles from Canada and perched on Lake Superior, Grand Marais in Minnesota draws outdoors enthusiasts all summer. But the little town of 1,300 is absolutely transformed in early August when the Lions hold their annual Fisherman’s Picnic. As many as 12,000 people, some of them who’ve booked rooms a year in advance, flood the streets. It’s entirely safe to say Grand Marias is the only place in the world where within four days you can compete in loon calling, fish tossing (similar to egg tossing but with herring) and minnow races, attend a lumberjack “camp” with its sawmilling demonstrations and logrolling and crosscut sawing contests, and wolf down “fishburgers,” the festival’s signature food item. You can also watch children, with gritted teeth, struggle mightily on a weighted tricycle to see how far he or she can ride in the tractor pull. If you like more traditional summer happenings, there is plenty of that, too: a parade, music, bingo and fireworks. The Fisherman’s Picnic is an 88-year-old tradition, a salute to the logging and fishing roots of Grand Marias. The club has 39 members, not bad at all for the size of the town. But the size of the festival is another story. “We’re pretty exhausted by the time it’s over,” says Cheryl Woodward, who moved here from California to be near her mother. About those iconic fishburgers: the club sells 650 pounds of the breaded, fried herring, served on a hot dog bun. “I hate them. But lots of people love them,” says Woodward. The fishburger is celebrated in song: a musician once penned an ode to it, and it’s sung on stage. And Lions periodically take to the PA system with their siren song: “Are you hungry?” Maybe other parts of the world are too often reminded of its troubles and turbulences. But those concerns seem to fade away at the Fisherman’s Picnic. “Up here you are pretty much separated from what’s going on in the world. This is all about family,” says Woodward. When the sun sets on the Fisherman’s picnic, what’s left are memories− lots of good ones.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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