Carnival draws bigger turnout

Sam Odrowski

Nestor Falls was booming with fun activities from Friday to Sunday for its 36th-annual winter carnival.
Organizer Wayne Helliar said the three-day event was a success, with an increase in attendance from last year.
“Overall, everything went really well,” he enthused.
“I have to hand it to my volunteers,” Helliar added. “They just did an amazing job getting everything organized.
“We get such a good response from the people who come out to it, too,” he noted.
“They say it’s the most fun event they have ever been to.”
The carnival kicked off Friday when hungry patrons had the chance to taste and judge dishes during the “Nestor Falls Fish Cook-Off & Dessert Competition” held at the community hall.
The dinnertime event saw a drastic jump in the turnout from last year.
“Our second fish cook-off on Friday had 70 people and last year there was around 45,” Helliar recalled.
The first-place winner for the fish portion of the cook-off was Jamie Krukoski of Nestor Falls, followed by April Tait and Dave Bonke.
For the desert portion of the contest, first place went to Maria Vandenbrand of Stratton.
Carlee Gallinger was awarded second place, followed by Stacy Chapman in third.
“We had eight entrees for fish and dessert, which was quite a nice deal for a $12 entry fee,” Helliar said.
“I was there and the food was so good.
“It’s everybody’s favourite fish recipe,” he added.
Helliar’s Resort supplied a fish cooker as a door prize for the event, which was won by Luc Gagnon of Nestor Falls.
The following day was filled with activities from early morning into the night, starting with the fishing derby on Sabaskong Bay.
The ice-covered lake was filled with anglers, who enjoyed mild weather as they set their hooks in hopes of snagging the biggest catch.
“For the fish derby, the weather was fabulous,” Helliar enthused.
“I can’t say enough about how nice it was.”
First place in the crappie division went to Sawyer Hanson of Nestor Falls for his 13.5-inch catch, followed by Steve Hanson in second and Chris Edwards in third.
For the walleye division, first place was awarded to Ched Scheitler of Chicago, Ill. for his 15-inch fish, followed by Carol Boissoneau in second and Kristy Boissoneau in third.
The winner of the biggest trout was Mike Saarela of Nestor Falls for his 25.5-inch catch.
He also captured second place, with Todd Halverson taking third.
And Kerri Tolen of Emo caught a 22-inch fish to top the northern division, followed by Connor Dutka in second and Carol Boissoneau in third.
The fish derby door prize was a $580 ice auger, sponsored by Helliar’s Resort, which was won by A.J. Kelly of Fort Frances.
The winner of the Canadian Tire-sponsored participation prize was Paige McFayden of Fort Frances, who took home a GT sled.
The fishing derby saw a great turnout, with Helliar saying 270 tickets were sold (also an increase from last year).
Meanwhile, other carnival attendees filled the community hall for the annual cribbage tournament.
Randy Hanson of Nestor Falls took first place, followed by Wayne Helliar and Joleen Helliar.
The first-place winner in the winter themed photo contest was Pirie-Milko of Kenora.
A dance featuring DJ Maverick Judson capped off Saturday’s events.
An all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast then closed out this year’s winter carnival on Sunday morning.
During the pancake breakfast, the “All-Participants Prize” of a $500 Visa gift card was won by Joshua Gallagher of Shepherd, Montana.
The 50/50 prize, valued at $892.50, was won by Steve Hanson of Nestor Falls.
Helliar said he enjoys helping to stage the carnival.
“It’s just a great thing for our town, and gives people something to do in Nestor Falls and the surrounding area,” he remarked.
“It’s a long winter and it’s nice to have events going on, and [people] can be a part of that if they want.”
The Nestor Falls Recreation Committee thanks all who attended the winter carnival and all the volunteers who helped to make it possible.
It also would like to thank all the businesses, sponsors, and others who donated to the event.
The committee already is looking forward to putting on the winter carnival again next year.