A city began forming Friday on Gull Lake and its population will rival Brainerd's by noon Saturday.
The 14th annual Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza is expected to draw more than 12,000 anglers to Gull Lake.
Most won't claim one of 300 prizes but they expect to have a good time. If nothing else they'll contribute about $200,000 to charities. Last year Camp Confidence received $144,515, an all-time record contribution from the contest.
The attendance record of 12,197 is on the verge of being broken, said Brian Lindberg, contest chairman. "Our advance sales have put us on a pace to break the record," Lindberg confirmed Friday morning.
Hole drilling began at 10:30 a.m. on Hole-in-the-Day Bay. One hundred volunteers took four hours to drill 24,000 holes. The Brainerd Snodeos Snowmobile Club started the process by making grid patterns with their sleds, and the augers followed.
Next came the vendors, whose tents and booths will number 30 and offer beef sticks, fur hats, mini doughnuts, pizza, burgers and brats. "You name it, we'll probably have it out here," Lindberg said.
Saturday morning 350 volunteer workers will be on the ice, including Jaycees, the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Woodland Good Samaritan Home. Weather cooperating, a hot air balloon will hover over the contest. The On-Ice Olympics for kids are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. with up to 350 kids expected to compete.
Weather should be great for the 14th annual Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza.
The forecast calls for partly sunny weather Saturday with a slight chance of light snow early in the morning, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.
The high temperature is expected to be 20 to 25 with northwest winds of 10-20 mph. The chance of snow is 20 percent.
Media representatives this year total 40, including "The Rookie" from the radio show Garage Logic. Ron Schara's "Minnesota Bound" crew will film for a Sports Illustrated television program. No, Raven will not be here, nor Schara himself, Lindberg said.
A record 36 businesses have entered the team competition. Individual contestants are coming from as far away as Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., Lindberg said.
"It's been clockwork, absolute clockwork," Lindberg said of pre-contest preparations. "Being the chairman this year has been an honor. We have a great staff. Every organization involved with this contest has been awesome."
With that, let the competition begin.
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