Freeland gears up for Walleye Festival

Walleye Festival organizers are saying this year’s event will be new and improved.
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 6:54 PM EDT
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FREELAND, Mich. (WNEM) – Walleye Festival organizers are saying this year’s event will be new and improved.

With fishing, festival rides, and flocks of yard sale shoppers ahead, the city of Freeland said they expect this year to be even bigger.

“People are really enjoying this festival and we love putting it on,” said Jason Swartz, the Walleye Festival Chairman.

On Thursday, April 27, the 37th Annual Walleye Festival kicks off and Freeland is gearing up for the fun and the crowds.

“Most of us, most everybody there has been through it before. So, you just know that there is going to be crowds and crowds of people. So just take your time going somewhere you know, welcome them into the community,” Swartz said.

The weekend will include garage sales, tournaments, a carnival, a car show, and much more, including some new additions.

“Starting this year with a little pub crawl deal where you’re going to get some stamps at different local bars that we have there in town and be able to get those stamps and come back to the beer tent and finish it. We got great prizes donated to people to us from that there. And like I said, the duck race we have, there’s still tickets available for that. We also have a cash raffle,” Swartz said.

In the midst of all the fun, residents are reminded to plan ahead for the increased traffic.

“Parking is somewhat limited, so they’ll find spots to park on streets which leads to a lot of pedestrian traffic. People walking between sales from house to house. So, we just ask that the motorists are patient, that they take their time, that they watch out for pedestrians, and keep their eyes on the road. Definitely put their cell phones down while they’re driving so they don’t get distracted,” said Police Chief David Simon with the Tittabawassee Township Police Department.

Because accidents are not uncommon during this busy weekend.

“We typically with this influx of traffic, we will see traffic crashes and it’s typically rear-end collisions because people are traveling and maybe not paying attention to the car stopping in front of them,” Simon said.

The Walleye Festival will run through Sunday, April 30.

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