A celebration of being drunk

Maybe it’s time to pull the plug on the famous Eelpout Festival on Leech Lake.

“I think we’re at a point where enough is enough,” said Cass County Commissioner Jim Dowson, who is a former sheriff.

The problem is the problem with too many Minnesotans in the winter — they’re drunk.

The Brainerd Dispatch says the Walker festival left a massive amount of garbage and human waste.

“We issue a permit for one of the biggest drunks in the state,” Dowson said.

Says the newspaper:


Dowson noted this is in conflict with the extensive programs the county offers to help people conquer their addiction to alcohol use such as the Wellness Court, family counseling services, detoxification, alcohol treatment services and compliance checks of businesses to make sure they don’t sell alcohol to minors.

Burch said his deputies jailed 45 people during this year’s Eelpout Festival for various offenses.

Dowson also said Eelpout Festival draws a different clientele than Moondance Jam, the summer music festival held near Walker annually under a county mass gathering permit. That event pays the sheriff $12,000 per year for law enforcement service and provides its own security personnel.

While noting that Eelpout Festival has a positive economic impact on Walker, Dowson said the cost to the sheriff and the impact on the lake may no longer make sense.