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A Richard Simmons look-alike and his team of exercisers plunges into an icy pit. Last year 140 plungers raised $25,000 for the Walker Area Community Center. Organizers hoped to surpass it this year. (Sarah Smith/Enterprise)

Eelpout under way with 10,000 winter-weary funsters

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The raucous weekend festival that celebrates a homely fish kicked off Friday in Walker, with 10,000 people expected for the usual rollicking good time.

The 30th Annual Eelpout Festival is a brisk break from the winter doldrums.

"I'm sweating!" complained first-time Pouter Randy Reynolds, of Blue Springs, Mo. He looked like a down-stuffed doughboy. Somebody forgot to tell him that layering is the best clothing option.

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