Sturgeon Spectacular Hits the Ice!

SS_logo_fish-sail-typeBY Michael Casper

Only in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin will you find a celebration of a prehistoric fish that involves ice sailing and kiting competitions, fat tire bike racing, fireworks, ice bowling, music, food, and beverages…and a chili crawl!

This is actually the 1st Annual Sturgeon Spectacular.  Last year the WISSA 2015, which was World Ice and Snow Sailing Competition took place the same weekend.  Both events are an extension of the Sturgeon Stampede which is in its 27th year, and many organizations have come together to make this a great event!

Craig Molitor is the president of the Fond du Lac Visitor & Convention Bureau.

“They say necessity is the mother of invention,” Craig said “well necessity has been a motivating factor behind our decision to move forward with the creation of a winter festival in Fond du Lac!  We think this community needs to celebrate winter. We think this community needs to promote the sturgeon spearing season. And above all we think this community needs to work together to create more reasons to bring visitors to our town.” 

The weekend actually begins Friday night with music.

“Thelma is hosting Copper Box on Friday night,” Craig said “doors open at 6, the music goes from 7 to 9:30 pm. The Winnebago Association of Kiteboarders (WAK) will have the Josh Schneider Band at 5 pm at the Main Tent on the ice off Roosevelt Park, followed by D’Willy and the Souvenirs.  Saturday, Fishing Has No Boundaries welcomes Driftwood beginning at 3:30 pm at the Main Tent, now known as the “No Boundaries Bar.”

The Downtown Chili Crawl is sponsored by Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership. 

“Several businesses are participating,” Craig said. “For just $10 ‘crawlers’ can taste different concoctions, and vote for their favorite.  Start at the Downtown Deli at 74 S. Main and get a map of each location.  Registration begins at 10:30 AM, Saturday the 13th.  The last stop is Hopper’s Silk Screening and All Star Trophy where ‘crawlers’ fill out their ballot, and receive an ‘I Survived the Downtown Chili Crawl’ t-shirt.”

Fishing Has No Boundaries is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to open up the great outdoors for people with disabilities through the world of fishing, and they will be on the ice again this year. 

“This event is specifically for individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities to experience sturgeon spearing,” Craig said.
This is winter fun for young and old. Bring your valentine to Fond du Lac, because nothing says “love” like spearing a sturgeon, eating chili, ice sailing, and sipping a few beers.


Thursday February 11th
People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish
Author Kathleen Schmitt Kline tells stories about the world’s largest sturgeon population.
Fond du Lac Public Library – 6 PM

FREE Screening of the Award Winning “Frozen Chosen”
Witness obsessed men and women who are willing to wait days, years, even decades for a fish
Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts
Door and Bar Open at 6 PM; 7:30 PM screening of the documentary

Friday February 12th
27th Annual Sturgeon Stampede
Ice & snow sailing and kiting return to Lake Winnebago
A half-mile out on ice beyond Roosevelt Park
Noon – 5 PM

On Ice Kick-Off of the Sturgeon Spectacular
Music by D’Willy and the Souvenirs, food, refreshments, bonfire, Sturgeon Queen & fireworks
Main Tent off shores of Roosevelt Park
5 – 10 PM

Lake Winnebago Public Ice Skating
Skate rental and tickets available in Main Tent
Off Roosevelt Park – 5:30 – 8 PM

Make-and-Take Sturgeon Art Activity
Roll out the ink and burnish by hand a free pre-cut sturgeon linoleum print to take home
Riverwalk Art Center – 10 AM – 5 PM

In Town Kick-Off of Sturgeon Spectacular
Celebrate with Beer, Polka, Sturgeon Kissing & music of Copper Box – shuttle to ice
Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts
6:00– 9:30 PM
Saturday February 13th
Fishing Has No Boundaries 2nd Annual Sturgeon Event
Individuals with disabilities enjoy spearing; food, refreshments & live music by Driftwood
Main Tent ice off Roosevelt Park
7 AM – 8 PM

Blue Line U-8 Mite Hockey Tournament
U-8 Mite Hockey Teams from around the state compete-on Lake Winnebago
Ice off Roosevelt Park – 8 AM – 4 PM

Booty Adventure Run/Walk
One-of-a-kind Wisconsin 5K run/walk on quiet creek leaving from Main Tent
Course on Creek – Register at Main Tent
8 AM

Spear the Fatty Bike Race
16-mile challenge for feisty fat tire cyclists and 4-mile non-competitive course
Course on creek – Register at Main Tent
10 AM

Lake Winnebago Public Ice skating
Skate rental and tickets available in Main Tent
Ice off Roosevelt Park – 10 AM – 4 PM

27th Annual Sturgeon Stampede
Kiteboarders and ice sailors compete in races, freestyle & Big Air jumping plus refreshments, FREE kites, ice bowing & tether ball
1/2 mile off shore from Sunset on the Water Grill & Bar & close to shore near Main Tent
11 AM – 5 PM

Outdoor Sturgeon Classic Hockey Game
Lake hockey between the Fondy Bears and the Monroe Blues
Ice off Roosevelt Park
1 PM Warm-up, 1:30 PM Game

Siberian Outpost Dog Sledding
FREE dog sled demo rides
Ice off Roosevelt Park 3 – 4:30 PM

Make-and-Take Sturgeon Art Activity
Roll out the ink and burnish by hand a free pre-cut sturgeon linoleum print to take home
Riverwalk Art Center
10 AM – 2 PM

Downtown Chili Crawl
Sample chili at over five participating businesses and vote for your favorite!
Tickets and map available for $10 at Downtown Deli To Go
11 AM – 2 PM

Crazy Creatures Laminated Paper Workshop
Create humorous and whimsical art for ages 8 and older
Trista Holz Studios
11 AM – 1:30 PM

Celebrate the Sturgeon Culture
Family fun including shantytown, sturgeon replica, stories, fishing simulation and more!
Children’s Museum of Fond du Lac
1 – 4 PM

Sunday February 14th
27th Annual Sturgeon Stampede
More kite & sailing activities as riders share the “free ride” experience
1/2 mile out from Sunset on the Water Grill & Bar
11 AM – 5 PM

Valentine’s Day Snowshoe Making Workshop
Purchase a kit and make an Ojibwa-style snowshoe – must pre-register, space limited
Historic Galloway House & Village
11 AM – 4 PM

Paving the Pier Path
Look back on Fond du Lac’s early days and learn about the founding family
Historic Galloway House & Village
11 AM – 3 PM

Sturgeon Spectacular – Really BIG Fish Kids Coloring Contest
Open to children ages 4 to 12 with voting by the public – entries due by Feb. 12
Historic Galloway House & Village
11 AM – 4 PM

Valentine’s Day Horse Drawn Rides
Tour the village district in this crisp 30-minute winter ride for all ages
Historic Galloway House & Village
11:30 AM-3:30 PM

Valentine’s Day Cupid’s Trek
Take a romantic snowshoe trek through the grounds with a map highlighting the best places to kiss!
Historic Galloway House & Village
Noon – 2 PM

Fondy Bears Hockey Tournament
Fondy Bears take on the Monroe Blues
Blue Line Family Ice Center


Big Al Capone’s, Eden Meat Market, Harbor Bar & Grill, LaClare Farms, Rippn-Lips Tackle Co., Schreiner’s Restaurant & Bernie’s Pub, Schumacher’s Shanty, Sunset on the Water Grill & Bar, Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts and Wind Power Surf Shop.

For an updated schedule, list of specials and hotel packages go to

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