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‘It’s showtime’

Brown Trout kicks off

News Photo by Julie Goldberg A group of ladies dance Friday at the Neiman’s Beach Party at the Michigan Brown Trout Festival.

ALPENA — Around 1,000 people were in downtown Alpena Friday night kicking off the 45th annual Michigan Brown Trout Festival.

The Suez small tent was filled with both children and adults for the Neiman’s Beach Party, which featured Cronies Les Egos Band. Festival President Peggy Donakowsi said the beach party kicks off the festival every year and said Cronies was back performing by popular demand.

“We should have probably 1,000 people down here,” Donakowski said Friday.

Donakowski said seeing 1,000 people on the first night before the fishing part of the tournament starts is amazing, because people who have lived here always come back for the event and even plan their vacations around the 10-day event.

“I’m always trying to get my information out early, because they’re always calling and asking, ‘What’s the dates this year?’ so they can start planning,” Donakowski said.

Neiman’s had giveaways of beach balls, beads, and other prizes during the five-hour party, Donakowski said.

Along with the beach party, festivalgoers played in a Texas hold ’em tournament in the Suez big tent that ran from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Tournament Director Brad MacNeill said there are 19 superboats registered for the super tournament that runs from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. The boats had to register by 5:30 p.m. Friday. There is a guaranteed $3,000 first place prize for that tournament.

The fishing starts today at 6 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. July 28.

Donakowski said fishing registration is open every day from noon to 9 p.m. with weigh-ins every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Donakowski said the number of people fishing should increase this year, mostly because of the Michigan Walleye Tournament that’s next weekend.

“They’ll start coming in on Wednesday and, sometimes, they’ll enter some of our tournaments and start fishing and then they go right into theirs,” she said.

Overall, everyone was ready for the festival to start on Friday. Donakowski said she was excited and ready for it to get underway.

“We increased some of the prize monies, and created the new Atlantic salmon division, so I’m excited and it seems like everyone coming through the line registering today is ready to go,” she said. “They want to fish. It’s time. It’s showtime.”