Walleye Festival in full swing

The Freeland Walleye Festival is officially on.
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 6:39 PM EDT
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FREELAND, Mich. (WNEM) - The Freeland Walleye Festival is officially on.

The long-running tradition has been going on for 37 years and there are no signs of it slowing down. Bargain hunters from all over were already packing the streets on Thursday, April 27 for the well-known yard sales.

”This is the biggest event that we have all year, this is our 37th annual, so we kind of have it down to a science,” said Michael Weadock of the Freeland Lions Club.

Day one of Walleye Fest is in full swing. The streets and grass are filled with people shopping, socializing, and enjoying the festivities.

“Oh, it’s amazing so we’ll get people from all over the state coming in for the garage sales. And when they are coming in for the garage sales they’re spending money in the restaurants, the gas stations, to get a cup of coffee, whatever the case may be. So, it’s so important for the community and it’s amazing the wonderful community support we get,” Weadock said.

“It’s very nice for the community,” said Jason Swartz, the Walleye Festival Chairman.

The festival includes events for the whole family to enjoy, with everything from beer pong to bingo, a carnival, and fireworks. Participants say this is a weekend you don’t want to miss.

“If you see as many people that are here, there’s thousands and thousands of people here,” Swartz said.

And their presence means not only a good time but good business.

“Everybody’s able to benefit a little bit from it with either, stopping at a restaurant, stopping at a gas station, getting more stuff,” Swartz said.

Some describe the yearly event as a community reunion; a reunion that didn’t happen during the pandemic.

“Everybody’s happy to be out running around, spending money, and having fun again,” said Tom, a vendor and festival participant.

“A lot of great things out here for everybody, for kids, adults, household goods, just looking for a variety of things, this is the place to be this weekend,” said participant Priscilla Garcia.

Some people were even traveling in for the bargains.

“I’m here with family we get together every year to come out here and look at deals at the sales,” said Auburn resident Ann Warren.

“It’s a tradition with my mom. We been going the past few years or so and it’s just a thing that we get to do to spend time together. Now we’re bringing my daughter along, she’s three,” said Lyndsay Field, a resident from Beaverton.

The festival runs through Sunday, April 30.

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