No vehicle restrictions expected for this year's Eelpout Festival
WALKER—Eelpout Festival organizers believe there will be no vehicle restrictions during this year's festival.
Thanks to this year's cooler temperatures, festival attendees will likely be able to drive campers, trucks and cars onto the ice as they see fit. This is a change from the 2017 and 2016 Eelpout festivals; unseasonably warm weather prompted restrictions those years.
Last year, for example, the Cass County Sheriff's Office decided to only allow snowmobiles and class 1 and 2 all-terrain vehicles on the ice for a portion of the festival.
This year, after a meeting with the Cass County Sheriff's Office, Eelpout organizers announced that no restrictions are anticipated. But because of the high number of participants—the fesitval usually draws about 10,000 people—ice houses, campers and other "encampment structures" must be set up 15 feet apart.
This is the 39th year of the Eelpout Festival, held on Leech Lake in Walker. It begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 25.
There had been talk last fall about the Eelpout Festival moving to Bemidji, partly due to parking issues the past few years, and also because of clean-up efforts. However, organizers opted to keep the festival in Walker, where it’s been for the past 38 years.