Fisheree to benefit veterans park
Annual event set for Jan. 30 in Manawa
By Holly Neumann
The Manawa Area Veterans Freedom Park Committee will host its annual Fishing for Freedom Fisheree later this month.
The event is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, on the Manawa Millpond.
“This is typically one of our favorite and biggest fundraisers of the year,” said John Smith, who helps organize the event. “It’s the most family-oriented fundraiser that we have. It’s great to see three to four generations of families coming out together to participate.”
Cash prizes will be awarded for the biggest bluegill, perch, crappie, northern pike and bass and there is no fee to enter fish, according to Smith.
“When you catch a fish, you bring it to the fish measurement area,” he said. “That is all you have to do to register.”
The measurement area is by the Manawa Area Veterans Freedom Park shelter house at 176 Beach St.
The day will also feature a soup cook-off. Participants need to bring a crock pot or Nesco container of soup, along with a serving ladle, to the shelter house by 9 a.m. and will need to come back at 2 p.m. to pick up the items.
“The soup competition is wonderful,” Smith said. “It generates friendly bantering back and forth between the contestants, often times directed at me, and, of course, I enjoy that.”
The public votes for the winning soup and plaques are awarded for the top three places.
A best-dressed shanty contest is also planned.
“We encourage folks to spruce up their shanties,” Debbie Sarna said. “I will be traveling around the ice to choose the award.”
Awards for all categories will be presented at 2:30 p.m.
All children will receive a fishing pole donated by Walleyes For Kids.
Funds raised will be used for a bridge to connect the family side of the park to the veterans memorial.
“We would like to put in some covered seating areas by the splash pad this year,” Smith said. “If we generate enough funds between this and our other fundraisers, we would like to blacktop the parking lot by the shelter house.”
Other activities include paddlewheel, basket and 50/50 raffles; and food and beverage sales.
“Outside of the shelter house this year, we will have some vendors, including Buschke Carving doing a live demonstration,” Smith said.
All participants are asked to consider purchasing raffle tickets and participate in other events.
COVID-19 precautions will include gloved hands for those serving food. Hand sanitizer will also be available.
“We recommend anyone who is not feeling well to please stay home so that we do not take the chance of spreading this disease,” Smith said.
Sarna and Smith thanked residents from Manawa and surrounding communities for supporting the park.
“We figure we have 1 1/2 years of fundraising to go to complete all of the projects,” Smith said. “We don’t want it to go unheard about how much we appreciate all the support we’ve been given the last five years.”
“Without their participation, these functions cannot be successful,” Sarna said. “This park was not built by the committee, but by the entire community.”