Well, I missed out on the ice fishing for the first time since it started – mind you I never fish, just go from spot to spot seeing how everyone else is doing and taking photos. I especially like taking photos of the dog sledding demonstrations – however, it’s my understanding that the rides weren’t given because of lack of snow. The events in the Grange Hall are also fun to see with Arts and Crafts, raffles, music and food.
Unfortunately it was the third year in a row that the anglers got skunked – I guess it wasn’t me bringing bad luck. As a member of the Oroville Chamber of Commerce board my email inbox has been filling up with ideas of what we, as sponsors, should do for next year. It looks like we’ll move the event up from President’s Day Weekend to Martin Luther King Weekend in January and try to take advantage of the colder weather when the fish seemed to be biting this year.
According to all reports the Pinewood Derby Race was a big hit and the Chamber intends to bring that back and even make it bigger and better. I know my mom and everyone else who saw the Patrick McMannis one-man play as performed by Tim Behrens was especially funny. I really wanted to see the show – my kids always liked listening to McMannis books on tape when we used to go for long drives and the books have always been among my favorites. I even got the chance to speak with the author in person a few times when he’d come up to the sportsman’s show held at the elementary school.
The Ice Fishing Festival is important in several ways –- of course it brings people to the area who might not know that we have something great to offer in the winter time, but it also helps to raise money for the Oroville Visitor Center, which is operated by the Okanogan Borderland’s Historical Society. The festival is also famous for being a reunion weekend for people from the area, especially the highlands, who travel back to have some fun with family and friends in Molson.
None of this could happen without the many volunteers, led by Robin Stice – People from the Chamber of Commerce, the Molson Grange and many more. People who want to make things happen for our area – bring in tourists and local families and give them something to do each winter. Even though the festival has struggled from a fisherman’s point of view the Chamber and others are working to bring back some of that success it had in the early days and make this unique event something that everyone can be proud of.