Good weather, large crowds highlight 82nd Trout Fest

Elizabeth Dunham, Contributing Writer

Photo by Dennis Mansfield

Longtime local firefighter Charlie Shafer of Kalkaska Township Fire Department Station No. 7 literally leads a parade of fire engines from departments throughout Kalkaska County in old “Engine No. 1” during Saturday’s Grand Royale Parade


KALKASKA – Despite fears that recent snowstorms may impact the annual festival, the 82nd National Trout Festival took place under blue skies and on clear grounds.

“We had fantastic turnouts at all the events and activities,” said NTF board volunteer Debbie Ball-Odeh. “The only thing that would have made it better was about 10 or 15 more degrees, but good times were had and there’s always next year for warm and balmy.”

This year’s theme was “Life is good, fishing makes it better.” The festival began with Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday, April 25, at the Kalkaska Civic Center on the fairgrounds. At the opening, Dr. Donald Longfield and Miss Kalkaska 2017 Tayla Rucker were crowned Trout King and Queen.

The coronation and opening speeches were followed by a lively performance by the Pub Runners, who played a combination of Irish and folk music.

The festival continued into the weekend with the opening of the Skerbeck’s Family Carnival and a host of other new or favorite events.

“The Friday night concert, Melissa Lee and Kin Faux, were fantastic despite windy and cold temperatures,” said NTF vice president Arica Black. “(But) on Saturday, there were over 100 entries in the Grand Royale Parade and on Sunday we had over 60 entries in the Classic Car Show.”

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