Freedom Ice Fisheree
Manawa event includes soup cook-off
By Holly Neumann
The fourth annual Freedom Ice Fisheree will begin at 7 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Manawa Area Veterans Freedom Park shelter.
“This event has been so well accepted,” said organizer John Smith. “Not just by our community but people travelling from the Valley to fish in this tournament and to take part in the fundraising efforts.”
Smith said it is one of most family-friendly events they host.
“Prizes can be awarded for the largest fish to the smallest fish,” he said. “We generally try to make sure that the youth fisherman or fisher ladies under 12 years old get a prize. That’s what makes it so attractive to all the moms, dads and grandparents is that the children are so involved.”
Cash prizes will be awarded for the largest fish in the following categories: northern pike, bass, perch, crappie and bluegill.
There is no cost to enter the competition.
“We do ask that you purchase our raffle tickets and enjoy a beverage of your choice and or soup or hot sandwich,” he said. “This is how we continue to raise money for the completion of the veterans’ park.”
Preregistration is not required.
“When you catch a fish, you bring it to the registration area at the shelter house, and we will log the information and hang your trophy on our display board,” Smith said.
The soup cook-off competition is open to everyone.
“We ask that you bring at least a crock pot of soup,” said Smith. “Many people bring a Nesco. Remember the longer your soup lasts, the more votes you’re likely to get.”
Participants are also asked to bring a serving ladle.
People buying a bowl of soup will get one vote per purchase.
Plaques will be awarded to first, second and third place.
Contestants are asked to be available at 2 p.m., when the competition is over, to collect their prize and serving tools.
“This is a serious competition with a great deal of banter that goes back and forth between competitors,” Smith said. “This is a way for people who may not like to ice fish per se but want to be involved in something fun during the winter months.”
Funds raised will benefit the Manawa Area Veterans Freedom Park.
Smith said if all goes well with the next two fundraisers and possibly some private donations, they will be able to break ground on the splash pad this spring.
“This will be an amazing addition to what is already we believe one of the most beautiful veterans’ parks in our area,” he said.
Remaining projects for the park include the splash pad, a bridge to connect the memorial side of the park to the family side of the park, a sponsorship wall to acknowledge those who made the project possible and blacktop for the parking lot on the family side of the park.