If it is to be the last hurrah, what a beautiful and busy weekend to go out on.
Nestor Falls held its annual Winter Carnival for what could be the last time this past weekend in and around the small township. Over three days, people from the township and surrounding areas turned out to eat, fish, play crib and enjoy what turned out to be a sunny and warm late-winter weekend.
“Overall, I think it went very well,” said longtime Winter Carnival committee member Howard Dodd.
“It was such a nice day and we had a lot of people that went fishing that I know in the past didn't go fishing, due to the weather.”
Along the ice road that fed to several different ice fishing spots for Saturday's Fish Derby, participants, families and friends could be seen tossing aside coats and sweaters to take in the warm, sunny weather.
The good turnout wasn't limited to the weekend's fishing derby, either. The Winter carnival has traditionally featured a cribbage tournament, and this year was no exception.
“For the cribbage we had 15 teams,” Dodd noted.
“As far as the kids games, one of the ladies from the school said there were 40-some kids, and they were required to have parent supervision, so they had a nice crowd down there.”
In addition to fun, games and fishing, a crowd has to be fed. On Friday afternoon, visitors to the carnival were able to take in Fish Cook-Off Dinner and Dessert competition, while the Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls fire department was in charge of running the canteen on Saturday, as well as the pancake breakfast on Sunday morning. Proceeds from the canteen and the breakfast went towards fundraising for a new fire boat that will serve the community.
Getting people to turn out to a community event is only half the battle, sometimes even less, and Dodd explained that the current organizing committee's decision to stop planning the Winter Carnival following this year's event mainly came down to a problem that more volunteer and community groups are facing.
“We've tried to get more volunteers, new volunteers, younger volunteers and in that effort it did not succeed,” Dodd said.
“We can no longer do what we do with the handful of people that we have to put this on. At our meetings, our small group of meetings, we've talked about it. We get the support for the actual carnival, but as far as getting help from people to put it on, we're just short handed.”
Dodd noted that committee chairperson Pam Edwards worked diligently this year to try and drum up interest in helping put on the carnival, and while he said it was somewhat successful, it was still not enough for the amount of work the committee has to undertake each year.
“Pam Edwards put posters all over Nestor Falls,” he explained.
“She went on social media back when the planning stages were going on for the Winter Carnival, to try to get people to attend the planning meetings. We had two new people show up, and that's not enough.”
The current committee members have no plans to proceed with another winter carnival, though Dodd noted the potential is still there for other interested parties to step up and organize something for next year. Even with the potential of the carnival being resurrected somewhere down the line, Dodd admitted he's still saddened to see things wind down so close to a major milestone.
“I for one wanted to make it to number 40,” he remarked.
“I've been doing this for a long, long time, I think when I first moved up here I started, so I would like to maybe do two more years. With all the work to do to get the winter carnival promoted, two more years would have been it for me.”
“For me, this one is a sad one, especially since we're not going to do it again,” he added.
- • •
The 38th Annual Nestor Falls Winter Carnival Winners
Fish Cook Off:
- 1st Place: Steve Hanson, Nestor Falls
- 2nd Place: Pam Edwards, Nestor Falls
- 3rd Place: Jamie Krukoski, Nestor Falls
- 1st Place: Zoe Mayman, Selkirk, Man.
- 2nd Place: Tracey Lockhart, Nestor Falls
- 3rd Place: Sandy Faulds, Nestor Falls
Attendance Prize: Mark Daly, Nestor Falls
- 1st Place: Pat & Mel Borgen, Baudette, MN
- 2nd Place: Carol Petri, Nestor Falls, & Bob Petri, Winnipeg, Man.
- 3rd Place: Doris Valliant, Nestor Falls, & Margaret Benjamin, Fort Frances
- 1st Place: Anita Shebagegit, Nestor Falls
- 2nd Place: Darryl Dutka, Nestor Falls
- 3rd Place: Reed Chapman, Thunder Bay
- 1st Place: Dave Bonke, Nestor Falls
- 2nd Place: Kris Fernette, Sioux Narrows
- 3rd Place: Ched Scheiter, Chicago, IL
- 1st Place: Tom Stenvold, Park River, ND
- 2nd Place: Al Brown, Nestor Falls
- 3rd Place: Klyde Laplante, Emo
- 1st Place: Jim McLean, Vancouver Island, B.C.
- 2nd Place: Dean Lachapelle, Nestor Falls
- 3rd Place: Tracy Pryndik, Red Lake
- 1st Place: Trish Albert, Off Lake, Ont.
- 2nd Place: Dena Bishop, Ada, MN
- 3rd Place: Shirley Brown, Nestor Falls
Fishing Derby Participant Prize: Cynthia Cave, Emo
All Participants Draw: Sawyer Hanson, Nestor Falls
50/50 Draw: Amanda Beauregard, Fort Frances