‘Spirit of the St. Croix Days’ are Oct. 15-18The Spirit of the St. Croix Days is coming to Hudson Oct. 15-18 with a long list of events, including the a prestigious professional walleye fishing tournament. There is a long list of other activities for all ages and organizers are expecting large crowds for the four days of fun.
By: Doug Stohlberg, Hudson Star-Observer
The Spirit of the St. Croix Days is coming to Hudson Oct. 15-18 with a long list of events, including the a prestigious professional walleye fishing tournament.
There is a long list of other activities for all ages and organizers are expecting large crowds for the four days of fun.
The main event is the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail, sponsored locally by the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau and the city of Hudson.
Often referred to as the “Super Bowl” of walleye fishing, the four-day event will descend on Hudson Oct. 15-18 and could attract 10,000 to 15,000 people. Nationwide media outlets, including ESPN, will be here to record the event for a national television audience.
“There will be a great variety of other things occurring during the event and we’re all excited about hosting it,” said Chamber President Kim Heinemann.
Among the major attractions is a performance by the nationally renowned Big Top Chautauqua. The group is performing a free show at the Lakefront Park band shell at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16. Vendors will be near the band shell so visitors may come for dinner and enjoy the show and concert.
Other highlights include youth fishing activities, boat show, vendor show, food and beverage vendors, Taste of Hudson — A Food, Wine and Beer Experience, All American Lumberjack Shows, musical entertainment, Bassmeister Shows and more.
Friday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m. the Spirit of the St. Croix Days will host “The Taste of Hudson, A Food, Wine & Beer Experience” in a tent set up in Lakefront Park. With a $65 entry pass, participants can sample food from nine Hudson restaurants along with Wisconsin craft beers and wines. Later that evening a cash bar will open and jazz music will be available.
Passes are available at the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau Office, 502 Second St.
Food and beverage samples will be available from Afton House Inn, Barker’s Bar & Grill, Hudson Golf Club, Mama Maria’s Italian Ristorante, Paddy Ryan’s Irish Pub, Pier 500, San Pedro Café, The Nova, Winzer Stube, Coca-Cola, Leinenkugel’s, Knotty Vines and Caribou Coffee.
“We expect that the event will also create a lot of traffic in downtown stores and restaurants,” Heinemann said. “We will also be running shuttles to the hill.”
As far as the fishing tournament is concerned, professional walleye fishermen are trying to qualify to be one of the finalists on “Super Bowl” Saturday, Oct. 18. Some fishermen will have already qualified before the Hudson event, but many will fish Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Oct. 15-17) and attempt to catch enough walleye to get them into the finale on Saturday.
Those who qualify will have eight hours on Saturday to catch as many walleye as possible and compete for the PWT year-end event title.
As fishermen attempt to qualify, they will fish Oct. 15-17 with weigh-ins each day from 3:15 to 5:30 p.m. Those who have already qualified will have those days to seek the most lucrative spot on the river for catching walleye.
The culminating event for the fishermen will be a formal awards banquet Saturday evening, Oct. 18. At the dinner and awards banquet, the Top 50 Anglers of the Year will be honored by the PWT. The public may also purchase tickets for that event.
“This is big deal,” Heinemann said. “The tournament has drawn huge crowds to every community in which it has been held.”
The event is a “catch and release” tournament. All walleye caught and weighed will be released back into the river.
Another part of the event will involve local artist Rick Kelley, who will be creating an original art piece of the St. Croix River commemorating the event. Visitors may watch Kelley create this artwork during the public events in the park.
The original piece will be auctioned off Saturday night during the PWT banquet to help the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau to continue community events.
The celebration will also recognize the 40th anniversary of the St. Croix River becoming a National Scenic River. Call the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau at (715) 386-8411 for more information or visit www.hudsonwi.org.
As a result of the PWT presence, Hudson and the St. Croix River Valley will be featured on national sporting channels throughout 2008 and 2009, as well as regional and national media publications as a place for tourism and fishing. The public will also be able to purchase tickets to the PWT year-end award banquet Saturday evening, Oct. 18, for $25 each (available at the Chamber office).
Wednesday, Oct. 15
Thursday, Oct. 16
Friday, Oct. 17
Saturday, Oct. 18
The 2008 event brochure and schedule is available online at wwwhudsonwi.org.