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Co-chairmen John Beeman and Don Bell at a planning meeting for this year's 42nd Annual American Legion Post 31 Winter Carnival that starts Friday.

Co-chairmen John Beeman and Don Bell at a planning meeting for this year’s 42nd Annual American Legion Post 31 Winter Carnival that starts Friday.

Larry Doll, chairman of the chili cook off poses with pot and spoon outside the American Legion Post.

Larry Doll, chairman of the chili cook off poses with pot and spoon outside the American Legion Post.

The weather is cooperating, the planning is complete and the American Legion Post 31 members are counting down to this year’s 42nd Annual Winter Carnival, which begins Friday, Feb. 7 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 9.

Larry Doll, chairman of the 23rd Annual Cavanaugh Lake Chili Cook Off is still looking for chili chefs contestants. Please consider entering the chili contest, have fun cooking and compete for cash prizes.

Co-chairmen John Beeman and Don Bell say this year’s event features something new on Sunday — a Kids’ 25-Cent Carnival. And, in addition, make sure your fishing license is up to date because weather conditions are looking favorable for the fishing derby on both Saturday and Sunday.

Tom and Angie Smith have taken on the chairmanship of the Kids’ 25-Cent Carnival, which takes place on Sunday, Feb. 9 from noon-2 p.m. for children 12 years and younger.

It will be located upstairs inside the Legion Post, at 1700 Ridge Road in Sylvan Township, and all games are 25 cents each.

Tom Smith said there will be hotdogs and grilled cheese and popcorn and candy as well.

There will be a cake walk for a box of Jiffy mix and fish pong, where children will bounce a ping pong ball into a fish bowl. Toilet paper boweling is also on tap as well as “corn hole” “Lucky Sucker” and face painting.

“Every game there will be a winner,” he says of the new event planned just for children.

So let’s recap all the events that will take place during the weekend.

On Friday night, people can begin purchasing food after 4 p.m. Beeman says and the menu includes everything from burgers and chili to beer and wine coolers – for those of legal age, of course.

There will also be a euchre tournament that night beginning at 7 p.m. with a $10 entry fee, but you must be 18 years or older to participate.

“We’ve had up to 100 people playing,” Beeman says.

On both Saturday and Sunday, breakfast will be served beginning at 7 a.m. until noon.

Also on Saturday, the ice fishing derby begins at 7 a.m. and continues until 5:30 p.m., and at 8:30 p.m. ,“Star 69,” a live band, will play until 11:30 p.m.

Bell says that although the fishing derby was cancelled the last two years due to unsafe ice conditions, he’s hoping that the fishing will go on this year.

The cost is $5 for adults and $1 for kids 12 years and younger and cash prizes are awarded for several categories. First, second and third places will be awarded for both adults and children in panfish, perch and pike. In the case of a tie, weight will be the determining factor, he says.

He says that the fishing isn’t just for men, either, women have won in the adult categories in the past, and that just as many girls have won as boys in the youth competition.

Bell says that there are usually about 30 youth entrants but there have been as many as 50 kids in the past. As for the adults, 60-70 people get out on the lake and although there are cash awards, “it’s more about bragging rights.”

And, of course, the camaraderie, he says.

“It’s a great experience if you’ve never done it. Come out and give it a try,” Bell says.

Although some fishermen set up shanties to protect them from the elements, all that’s really needed is a bucket to sit on, a fishing pole, bait and valid fishing license, and warm clothes to join in the fun.

The carnival wraps up on Sunday with breakfast from 7 a.m. until noon and the fishing derby from 7 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. after which the winners will be announced.

Be sure to check out the Kids Carnival from noon-2 p.m. and buy a raffle ticket as the drawing takes place at 3 p.m. just before the end of the three-day annual event.

Everyone is welcome to head to the Legion and enjoy one of winter’s premiere hometown events.

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