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The fish board from a pre­vious Tip-Up Fes­tival. Courtesy | Peggy LoPresto

The Hillsdale County Con­ser­vation Club will hold its 60th annual Tip-Up Fes­tival, fea­turing euchre tour­na­ments, a fishing contest, coyote and squirrel hunting con­tests, and music by the DJ “Sound Gen­erator.” 

The Tip-Up Fes­tival will begin on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. with a euchre tour­nament. The fishing contest and coyote contest both begin on Jan. 24 and end on Jan. 26. There will be a squirrel contest on Jan. 25. 

Tip-Up Chairman Peggy LoPresto said she has been going to tip-up fes­tivals her entire life and enjoys being part of an event that brings the entire county together. 

“It’s a county-wide social event. It brings people from all parts of the county to visit, socialize, and support the HCCC,” she said. 

LoPresto said the event began in 1960 on Baw Beese Lake when several ice fish­ermen threw a few dollars in a hat and agreed that whoever caught the biggest fish of the day would win the money. When the HCCC became involved with the fes­tival, ini­tially, it moved the event to Sandy Beach on Baw Beese. Today, the event takes place at HCCC’s club­house at 3835 South Bird Lake Road in Osseo. 

“It’s quite a tra­dition, and it’s an enjoyable one,” LoPresto said. 

LoPresto added that over the course of four days, she esti­mates that any­where from 600 to 800 people will stop by the Tip-Up Fes­tival. 

The steak fry, taking place on Jan. 24 at 5 p.m this year, typ­i­cally brings in more than 200 people, according to LoPresto. She also said the reverse cash raffle should attract about 150 to 200 people on Sat­urday. 

The biggest draw for people, LoPresto said, will be on Sunday when the HCCC gives out prizes for the fishing contest. This year, the largest pike will win $200, and there will be cash prizes for panfish as well. 

LoPresto said she enjoys teaching kids how to ice fish. 

“You get a kid that’s never ice-fished before, but they pull up their first fish and they’re hooked,” LoPresto said. 

More infor­mation about the Tip-Up Fes­tival events can be found on the HCCC’s Facebook page.