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Nestor Falls once again ready to host annual winter carnival

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The 37th-annual Nestor Falls Winter Carnival is returning early next month for a weekend of fun activities for the entire family.

“We've got lots of different events that go on throughout the three days,” said Pam Edwards, chair of the Nestor Falls Recreation Committee.

“It's a lot of fun.”

The event seems to bring the whole community together from March 1-3 for three days of fun.

The action begins this Friday (March 1) with a Fish Cook-Off and Dessert Competition at the community hall from 4-9 p.m.

The fish-cooking competition is a newer event, now in its third year, with the dessert contest entering its second.

“That event is starting to get a lot larger of a crowd coming in,” Edwards noted.

“We're feeding more and more people every year.”

The winner of the fish cook-off receives an award and $150 Visa gift card while the dessert winner receives a $100 one.

To “judge” the fish and dessert competition, it costs $12 for adults and $5 for children.

The meal includes fish, baked beans, coleslaw, bun, dessert, and a beverage.

“We are still looking for participants to cook the fish and enter their desserts into the competition,” said Edwards.

“We still have about four slots left in each to fill.”

Those looking to enter can contact pam.edwards34@hotmail.com or call 484-2103.

Then on Saturday, things kick off with the annual fish derby from 7 a.m.-4 p.m.

“The fish derby is always huge. That's our main event,” Edwards enthused.

“We get tons of prizes donated so that always makes it a lot more exciting, with the things you can win,” she noted.

The entry fee is $10 per person, with the check-in time being from 3-4 p.m. sharp.

Judging of the weather theme photo contest also will take place Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Photos must be e-mailed to pam.edwards34@hotmail.com by Feb. 26.

Photo-shopped entries will not be accepted.

Children's games will run from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Nestor Falls Public School.

“It's just a great family experience," said Edwards. ”To come up and be able to watch your kids; have fun in the kids' games.

“It's just a nice little community gathering," she added. ”It's a good chance for parents to make lasting memories with their children.

“We have something for every age range, which makes it so much fun!” Edwards enthused.

“There's something for everybody to do.”

The cribbage tournament kicks off at 11 a.m. at the community hall.

The event awards and prize draws start at 5 p.m. at the hall, which Edwards said can be quite the spectacle.

“When everyone gathers in the hall to do all the prizes, it's so much fun seeing everyone together and cheering everybody on,” she remarked.

Nestor Falls Recreation Committee member Howard Dodd agrees, adding it's always a fun gathering.

“Every year when we get ready to give out the awards and the prizes right around 5 p.m., that hall gets very, very crowded,” he noted.

“It's person to person in there, it gets full.”

A dance then will take place from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. at the community hall, with admission being $5. Safe rides will be available from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. free of charge.

Edwards urged carnival attendees to stop by the canteen and cash bar, which opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the hall.

It is being sponsored by the Sioux Narrows/Nestor Falls Fire Department, which is trying to raise money to purchase a new fire boat for Nestor Falls.

The department also will be collecting money at the “all-you-can-eat” pancake and sausage breakfast running Sunday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the community hall, with admission being a free-will donation.

Anyone who participated in any of the winter carnival's events, and entered their name into a draw, can win a $500 Visa gift card, which is announced at the pancake breakfast.

As well, the winner of the Nestor Falls Public School's 50/50 draw will be announced that same morning.

The school also is hosting a penny table during the carnival.

Edwards is eager to hand out all the various prizes and awards to this year's winners.

“We keep getting more and more donations, so the prizes are getting better every year,” she enthused.

The organizers are hoping for good weather and a good turnout. Edwards noted they usually see roughly 600-700 people come out over the three days.

“It bring in a lot of different people from a lot of different areas,” she remarked.

“We're getting people from the States, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.”

“We had a record number of people from northern Minnesota come up and join us for our winter carnival [a couple of years ago],” Dodd recalled.

“So we certainly hope our friends from the northern part of Minnesota come across.”

A major factor in how successful the event will be often is determined by the weekend's temperatures, Dodd conceded.

“The weather plays a big part," he remarked. "If we've got good weather, we've usually got a good turnout.”

Nestor Falls Recreation Committee members, meanwhile, are excited for the carnival and eager to put it on.

“Just seeing everybody come together and have a great time, that's the favourite part for those of us that work the event,” Dodd lauded.

“We put in a lot of hours over three days.”

With hundreds of people coming through for the carnival, he added it has a really positive effect on the Nestor Falls economy by the end of the weekend.

“I think just bringing everybody in is a good thing and it's good for the businesses here in town,” he reasoned.

Edwards agreed, noting the increase in activity benefits the town.

“It's great," she enthused. ”It fills up our hotels and motels in town, and the restaurants always are busy.

“Lots of fisherman come through," she added. "The ice roads are very busy.”

The carnival even has become a bit of a tradition for some families in Nestor Falls and the surrounding area.

“We have people that come down and schedule their trip for the winter carnival every year,” Edwards noted.

Moving forward, Dodd said they just need to stir up some excitement for the events and get ready for them.

“As far as preparations, we'll be down there the Thursday before the carnival to get the community all ready,” he explained.

“Then, of course, Friday and Saturday we have the events, so we have a lot of work to do to get this thing going.”

A small number of people on the Nestor Falls Recreation Committee plan the event each year. But they also plan to keep at it as long as they can.

“Without the support of the community and good number of decent volunteers, we couldn't do it so we're lucky that way,” Dodd remarked.

“I want to thank my fellow members of the Nestor Falls Recreation Committee and all the people who help us put this on,” he added.

“It's a great number of people who get this event to be a good one every year.”

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