Uncooperative weather cancels several ice events, but other activities will go on
MANITOU BEACH — An event like the annual Devils Lake and Round Lake Tip-Up Festival is so heavily dependent upon the cooperation of Mother Nature.
The 2020 edition of the festival, which turns 68 years of age this weekend, will see some cooperation with Mother Nature, while other planned portions of the event will have to be shelved.
The festival returns to the Manitou Beach area this weekend, Feb. 7-9, with a kickoff to the festival taking place at 9 p.m. tonight with the Tip-Up Karaoke contest at The Highland Inn Bar and Grill, 3171 Round Lake Highway.
With some rather unseasonably warm temperatures covering much of the area recently, portions of Devils Lake have not yet completely frozen over. For those lake spots that have frozen over, organizers of the event stated that the integrity and strength of the ice should not be trusted to allow patrons out on the ice.
This year’s festival will not include several of the ice-themed events planned for the weekend. The Red Light Ride, the snowmobile racing, the radar run for fun, the hovercraft rides and the oval track racing will all be shelved for this year’s festival, as voted on by the Devils and Round Lake Men’s Club. The only ice-related event that is still good to go is the ice fishing contest, which takes place every day over the weekend and culminates with the announcement of winners and prizes at noon Sunday outside of the Manitou Beach Marina.
“They just didn’t feel as if the ice would be able to hold for all of the action this weekend,” said main Tip-Up Festival advertiser Claudia Connors, in regards to the decision reached by the men’s club to cancel a majority of the ice events.
But that does not mean this weekend will be without any fun and entertainment.
A nearly full schedule of events and happenings is lined up to run all day Friday, Saturday and on Sunday.
Friday gets underway with the beginning of the ice fishing tournament at noon. At 5 p.m., a special dinner of Sand Lake Krunch fish will be offered at the Highland Inn. Food specials at The Shores Restaurant and Catering, 820 Manitou Road, will be offered at 6 p.m. Also beginning at 6 p.m. is the “Minute to Win it” competition and the “Spin to Win” games.
Saturday events begin at 6 a.m. with breakfast specials at The Shores. The fishing continues at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., the Snowflake Family Fun Fest at the Rollin Township Hall gets underway, and the Poker Run starts at 11 a.m. inside the Manitou Beach Marina.
Live music will be at the Highland Inn beginning at 2 p.m., and a 7 p.m. leg wrestling competition will also be held at the Inn. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights on Saturday will be the return of outhouse races over at the Manitou Beach Marina. It will mark the third year for outhouse racing at the festival.
Sunday, the final day of Tip-Up weekend, concludes with a 2 p.m. bikini contest at The Highland Inn. Last year’s contest awarded more than $800 in winnings.
The men’s club auction will get started at 3 p.m., and at 4 p.m., the men’s club raffle will close out the party weekend. Both the auction and the raffle are traditionally one of the weekend’s best attended events. They also generate the most money, according to Connor.
“Even though the events on the ice are fun, those are not our money makers,” she said.
The 2019 auction brought in more than $8,000 last year. Close to 200 items were auctioned off. At this point, the men’s club has generated about 70 items for the auction, but more are expected to be donated prior to Sunday’s auction.
Both the auction and the raffle will be at The Highland Inn. All proceeds made from the auction will go back into the community to support those in need. Funds from the auction will also be used for purchasing computers for college-bound students, creating Christmas gift baskets, purchasing fireworks for the Fourth of July festivities on the lake, Toys for Tots donations and various other special funds in the area.
Restaurants, bars, businesses and shops in the area will all be open during normal business hours during the Tip-Up weekend. Each location will offer its own specials and services. Shops in the Manitou Village will be offering specials for Valentine’s Day.
When asked about this year being the 68th edition of the Tip-Up Festival, Connor herself seemed somewhat surprised by that number. The festival is just a handful of years away from celebrating its 70th anniversary.
“I don’t know how it manages to continue on each year. It must be the dedication of the people who organize it, I guess,” she said. “It is our biggest festival for the lakes every year. It’s just a lot of fun. We have a lot of fun.”