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A colorful cast of characters was the hallmark of the 30th Annual Eelpout Festival in Walker. Twelve-year-old Isabella Vizenor of Park Rapids takes the polar plunge. She raised $115 to jump into icy waters. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Eelpout Festival brings a sudsy economic stimulus plan to Walker

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When Ken Bresley moved to Walker several decades ago to found his housing business, his first winter was beyond dreary.

"I thought they'd turned out the lights on all the businesses and told everyone to go home," he recalled. He started appealing to civic leaders to organize something that would bring people to the north country in the dead o f winter.

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"We tried ice fishing contests and sled dog races," he said. "They just didn't go."

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