2009-01-22 / Front Page

Winterfest Draws Large Crowds

Many Brave Cold To Enjoy Snow Sculptures, Races at Mackinaw City

Volunteer Bob Babcock of Burt Lake flags the Flamingo Flushers across the finish line at the Outhouse Races Saturday, January 17, in Mackinaw City. Covered with bright pink feathers and side wings, the outhouse rocked back and forth while making its way down the race track. Volunteer Bob Babcock of Burt Lake flags the Flamingo Flushers across the finish line at the Outhouse Races Saturday, January 17, in Mackinaw City. Covered with bright pink feathers and side wings, the outhouse rocked back and forth while making its way down the race track. The annual Mackinaw City Winterfest saw record numbers of participants and a large turnout of spectators during its two-day event Friday, January 17, and Saturday, January 18.

While the Paradise Lake Association enjoyed a record number 151 registered people to participate in its ninth annual ice fishing tournament and the festival's euchre tournament had its highest number of competitors, as well, events like the outhouse races and the chili contest also entertained large crowds.

Marilyn Smith, spokeswoman for Paradise Lake Association, said despite the wind and bitter cold, people came out to fish, and winners of the top three prizes did quite well with their catches.

The tournament's previous highest number of participants was 138 anglers.

Larry Strouse of Carp Lake stands next to his snow sculpture masterpiece, a small scale depiction of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw, at Mackinaw City's annual Winterfest Saturday, January 17. Mr. Strouse, who was assisted by local volunteers, won second place overall and first in the people's choice voting for his work. Larry Strouse of Carp Lake stands next to his snow sculpture masterpiece, a small scale depiction of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw, at Mackinaw City's annual Winterfest Saturday, January 17. Mr. Strouse, who was assisted by local volunteers, won second place overall and first in the people's choice voting for his work. "We registered 94 people in 90 minutes and raised around $1,600 for Paradise Lake marine protection programs and projects," said Mrs. Smith. "Terry Burge, our main coordinator, did a great job. He had a large active group of volunteers that helped him, as well."

Winning first place in the pan fish division was Chad Muschlock of Cheboygan, who captured a fish weighing 1.05 pounds, with a length of 12.25 inches.

Winner of the pike division was Rick Bennett of Levering, catching a 8.06-pound, 32.25- inch-long fish, and James Eaton of Pellston was the tournament's drawn chance ticket winner, catching a walleye.

Each top winner received $300.

Andrew Brown of Carp Lake won first place in the snow sculpture contest, creating an abstract sphere.

One of the more colorful competing teams in the outhouse races was the Flamingo Flushers team from Mackinaw City and Sparr. Team members included (not in order and some missing from photograph) Greg Gustafson, Cheri Miles, Glen Thompson, Kelli Eby, Heather O'Brien, Theresa Gardner, Dan Schuelke, Bill Taylor, and Dave Evon. One of the more colorful competing teams in the outhouse races was the Flamingo Flushers team from Mackinaw City and Sparr. Team members included (not in order and some missing from photograph) Greg Gustafson, Cheri Miles, Glen Thompson, Kelli Eby, Heather O'Brien, Theresa Gardner, Dan Schuelke, Bill Taylor, and Dave Evon. In second place, and winner of the People's Choice voting, was Larry Strouse of Carp Lake, with his depiction of the ship Mackinaw. Third place winner was Tom LaLonde of Cheboygan, who sculpted a ship in a bottle.

Taking first place in the annual outhouse races, in which teams create and design a sled that resembles an outhouse on skis, was the Red Bull Energy Drink team, sponsored by Cheboygan Dental Group and Hoppie's Bar.

The team, which designed a large scale model of the silver and blue drink can as an outhouse, also won Best of Show.

Second place winners were O'Reilly's Irish Pub of Mackinaw City, and third place went to the Keyhole Bar of Mackinaw City.

Greg Yoder, one of the event's coordinators, said there were 11 participating teams this year and at least 300 spectators braved the weather to watch the races Saturday afternoon.

The Red Bull Energy Drink outhouse racing team from Cheboygan were the overall winners of this year's Mackinaw City Winterfest Outhouse Races at Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry parking lot in Mackinaw City Saturday, January 17. The team was sponsored by Cheboygan Dental Group and Hoppie's Tavern in Cheboygan. The Red Bull Energy Drink outhouse racing team from Cheboygan were the overall winners of this year's Mackinaw City Winterfest Outhouse Races at Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry parking lot in Mackinaw City Saturday, January 17. The team was sponsored by Cheboygan Dental Group and Hoppie's Tavern in Cheboygan. Results of the euchre tournament at Mancino's Restaurant in Mackinaw City were unavailable at presstime.

There was also a record number of participants in the poker walk that began at Candy Corner Windjammer Gifts on Central Avenue, said Dawn Edwards, director for Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce, however, official results were not available at presstime.

"Overall, the festival was great," said Mrs. Edwards. "We had a lot of people show up, especially snowmobilers. That's what one of our main concerns was for this weekend, the turnout, when we knew it was going to be bitter cold, but we had a great response."

At right: Fans of the Flamingo Flushers outhouse race team, decked out in pink flamingo apparel, are (from left) Andrea Hurrell, Patrice Gustafson, and Caaren Levander. At right: Fans of the Flamingo Flushers outhouse race team, decked out in pink flamingo apparel, are (from left) Andrea Hurrell, Patrice Gustafson, and Caaren Levander.

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