WALKER -- A northern Minnesota festival to celebrate an ugly bottom-feeding fish enters its 39th year Thursday. The International Eelpout Festival in Walker is held on Leech Lake and was started as a way to draw tourists to town in the wintertime.

Jared Olson is one of the organizers of the festival and describes it as Mardi Gras on the ice.

There are events planned Thursday through Sunday, including fishing contests, a fish fry, dog sled rides, polar pout plunge and more.

Olson says Mother Nature is cooperating for this year's festival in Walker by making ice that's 27 inches thick at the site.  Olson says, as a result, there are no driving restrictions on the lake this year.

For more information on the events, visit the International Eelpout Festival website.

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