“The Park Rapids American Legion will continue its long-standing tradition of giving away big prizes and hosting a weekend of celebrations,” said contest organizer Dave Hanson. “This temporary format maintains the continuance of Park Rapids’ annual community ice fishing event and is, once again, only made possible through the hard work of many volunteers, community and Legion family members, and the generous support of so many local business sponsors.”
The Legion will open, beginning at 10 a.m. March 19, with opportunities to claim any last-minute, unsold fishing raffle tickets, in the event the raffle does not completely sell out, which last year’s did.
Hanson said, as of Monday, March 8, only 400 tickets remained at the club, “although some unsold tickets currently at local vendors are expected to be turned in before next weekend.”
Drive-thru raffle ticket sales will also be available near the prize display site in the Legion’s parking lot. A raffle ticket is $40 for a chance to win cash and prizes. More than $100,000 will be awarded.
Tickets were limited to 5,000.
For questions, tickets or more information, call 732-3360. A full list of prizes and ticket vendors is available at parkrapidsamericanlegion.com by clicking on “Fishing Derby.”
“What fishing derby weekend would be complete without a fish fry?” asked Hanson.
On March 19, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., the Legion will serve a fish dinner to dine-in guests and prepare drive-up takeout meals for those desiring curbside service.
In anticipation of an overflow crowd, Hanson said additional seating will be available behind the club in a heated tent, made possible by the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Mid-State Insulation. The tent will have a full-service cash bar beginning at 5 p.m., along with music and free corn hole.
Hanson explained the corn hole boards will be set up for competitors to pre-register and “knock the winter rust off their games” in hopes of winning Saturday’s Where’s The Fishing Raffle Corn Hole Tournament.
Music will play until 10:30 p.m. Friday, although the music will be paused during the 8 p.m. livestream broadcast of the drawing. The entire club will shut down at the state-mandated 11 p.m. closing time.
At 8 p.m. Friday,, the official drawing for the 70-plus prizes will be held.
The three grand prizes are a Smokey Hills Ice Castle Fish House, an Up North Power & Sports Polaris Ranger side-by-side and a $30,000 Thielen Motors gift certificate
The drawing will be live streamed on the Legion’s Facebook page.
Hanson said, “For those who choose to attend and pick up their prizes that night, the streamed drawing will also be shown live in the tent and at the front bar to assure that social distancing and other protocols are met in accordance with Minnesota State Health Department (MDH) guidelines.”
On Saturday, March 20, the American Legion Club will open at noon for raffle prize pick-up and more festivities.
The corn hole tournament begins at 1 p.m., with pre-registration in the tent through 12:30 p.m. Cost of entry is $5 per person, with 100 percent payback of entry fees to the competitors, Hanson said.
The Park Rapids American Legion Auxiliary will serve a luncheon, beginning at noon. The lounge and tent bar will be open again on Saturday, serving two-for-ones from 1 to 2 p.m.
Legion staff will host a special session of bingo, starting at 3 p.m., with a 15-game lineup and 75 percent payout planned, including a blackout jackpot finale.
“For those familiar with the American Legion’s Monday night bar bingo, the same playing format will be followed,” Hanson said, adding “For all of the events of the weekend, please plan to wear a mask and socially distance, per MDH guidelines.”