Droppin' of the Carp Dropped

By Correne Martin
Permission to reprint 12/10/2018
Most special occasions take a dedicated amount of preparation and effort. If they go off without a hitch and are successful, it’s likely that they’re planned again and again. If it’s a public activity that evolves annually and offers people that something different, it may continue fulfilling its capacity in the community year after year.
Still, events come and go. Some take a hiatus for a year or two and then return in an altered state.
This is the reality the Droppin’ of the Carp faces. After 17 years, it has been decided by the carp committee that the famed New Year’s Eve festivities will not happen in Prairie du Chien, as 2018 comes to a close.
“We’re not saying the Droppin’ of the Carp is completely done, we just hope somebody will step up and say ‘we miss this’ and rekindle it,” city Parks and Recreation Director Mike Ulrich said. “We’ve sought out other organizations (like the downtown and Tavern League groups) to take it over, and we hope to get some people to step up.”
“It’s not the responsibility of the city to put on events for the community. It’s up to the community to make it happen if they want it to happen,” shared Tom Nelson, fellow carp committee member and co-founder of the carp activities with his wife, Cathie. “The community has always been real supportive of this, which was designed as an alternative New Year’s Eve event in Midwest.”
Nelson said, when it started, it was only meant to happen one year. “But then it became very popular.”
The main reason the committee decided to take a break from Droppin’ of the Carp is that it’s not an easy task to pull off, being outside all day on a freezing New Year’s Eve, getting together all the equipment to raise and drop Lucky, etc. Of course, the committee is also aging, and staying up past midnight is not simple either.
The eccentricity of the event won’t completely go away, with the Droppin’ of the Carp discontinued, however, Ulrich noted.
Parks and Rec intend to move ahead with Carp Fest, Dec. 26-31.
“We’re still doing activities that keep that spirit going through the season,” he stated, “including dropping Lucky Carp Jr. inside at Hoffman Hall for the Family Droppin’ of the Carp Party.”
A host of family-oriented, indoor activities are scheduled in Prairie du Chien throughout the last week of December.
Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 26, family open gym and swim, and rec room use at the Hoffman Hall rec center will be offered for $1 per person. All ages can partake in these activities through Sunday, Dec. 30, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Also on Wednesday at the rec center, family bingo will be fun for all, from 1 to 3 p.m. Kids are invited to come with an adult.
On Thursday, Dec. 27, a euchre tournament, sponsored by the Eagles Club, will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at Hoffman Hall
A bowling party will strike up some excitement Friday, Dec. 28, from 12 to 3:30 p.m., at Leisure Time Sports Bar. Games, shoes and snacks will be available “dirt cheap.”
To conclude Carp Fest, the Family Droppin’ of the Carp Party, sponsored by Valley Fish and Cheese, will enliven Hoffman Hall once again on Monday, Dec. 31, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. For a small one-time fee, the party will feature chances to kiss Lucky Carp Jr. for good luck; laugh with Prairie’s own goofy Cousin Cletus; meet the Carp King; pet a K-9, therapy dog and a bunny; play carnival games; enjoy carp samples; and ring in the new year with noisemakers, hats and more.
“This still gives families and friends that opportunity to get out and celebrate an entire holiday season,” Ulrich said.