Walker, located on the shores of Leech Lake and the Chippewa National Forest, is busy throughout the year with celebrations, music events and unique shopping opportunities. It is located on the Lake Country Scenic Byway at the junction of Highways 371 and 200. Highway 34 East ends at Walker. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe operates Northern Lights Casino near Walker. Tourists can learn more about the area by visiting the Cass County Museum. And a new community center holds a fitness center, meeting rooms and space for community events, such as flea markets.
Yikes! Bikes! Bike Tour
Enjoy a beautiful July morning biking among our plush forests while taking part in a valued charitable event for Habitat for Humanity. Join in on the YIKES! BIKES! Bike Tour July 13. Come to the Walker area and participate in this wonderful opportunity to take in the scenery and help the Habitat for Humanity in their fundraising efforts.
Moondance Jam is a classic rock festival held annually on the Moondance Events grounds in the Leech Lake/Chippewa National Forest Area near Walker. This year, it’s scheduled for July 18-20. Moondance Jam is Minnesota’s largest rock festival and is recognized as the premier classic rock festival in the United States. The Moondance Jam festival site is about six miles south and east of Walker on U.S. Highway 200. It’s about two miles past the Northern Lights Casino. Highway 371 goes south at the casino junction, you want to keep going east of 200 to get to Moondance.
Walker Bay Days
A celebration of family values, community pride and commitment to the preservation of the Leech Lake area culminates with Walker Bay Days, Aug. 3. Activities and entertainment are held at Walker City Park.
Minnesota Folklore Theater
Minnesota Folklore Theater is located at 507 Minnesota Ave. in Walker. The mission is to create, develop and present professional musical and dramatic productions that will further the knowledge and appreciation of the culture and heritage of the United States. The Children’s Theater Company creates extraordinary theater experiences as a means of educating, challenging and inspiring young people.
On Sept. 14, the Leech Lake Area Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Ethnic Fest in Walker. Ancestors brought to America numerous heritages when they made that ultimate decision to leave their homelands. It is those cultures that are celebrated at Ethnic Fest. The air is filled with the aroma of many various ethnic cuisines to savor and the streets are lined with booths featuring crafts from different countries. The weekend also includes a parade with participants from far and near.
The International Eelpout Festival is each February. Be sure to plan on attending in 2014. The activities during the Eelpout Festival are plentiful. The celebration begins with the opening ceremony at high noon in the Walker City Park on Friday. The rest of the day is spent out on the lake fishing for the perfect Eelpout. Saturday is the Eelpout Peelout 5K run. The Best Eelpout Encampment judging is also on Saturday. See the creativity these Eelpouters put to use when creating their custom-made fish houses. The Polar Plunge is a highlight, held on Saturday on Leech Lake.
Festival of Lights
The Annual Festival of Lights is held the day after Thanksgiving in Walker, this year Nov. 29. Spend the day shopping. Santa and his wife, Mrs. Claus, will visit Village Square during the day. They are available to hear the children’s holiday wishes and to take pictures. Make sure to stay in town for the Festival of Lights Parade. The town will be lit up by the array of holiday floats.
The 41st annual Leech Lake Regatta is Aug. 10-12. The Leech Lake Regatta is run by a volunteer committee of the Shores of Leech Lake Yacht Club. Racing, sailing, campfires, music and camaraderie are part of the weekend. Boats race in two fleets: mono-hulls and multi-hulls, and within each fleet there are several divisions.
It’s official … Longville is the Turtle Race Capital of the World! Races are held every Wednesday in June, July and August in downtown Longville – a 40-year tradition. Longville holds four seasons of fun for the entire family. Surrounded by lakes and forests, Longville is a popular vacation destination. It has some of the best fishing, boating, water sports, hiking and biking in the summer and fall, along with cross-country skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter and spring. Join in the fun at the “Run Around Woman” Plus – a 30k and 5k run/walk and bike ride around Woman Lake Saturday, May 4.
Akeley offers many outdoor activities and attractions for tourists. It is located right on the corridor of the Lake Country Scenic Byway, 10 miles west of Walker and five miles east of Nevis. Highway 64 also goes south toward Motley. Besides being a good place to enjoy the outdoors, the small town offers plenty of other attractions with two theaters. Many artists also make their home in Akeley. Among them is a chainsaw carver, just west of town on Highway 34. The former school now includes a public library, archery range and a used clothing and furniture shop. A community garden is established near the former school. Several organized events throughout the summer lead ATV riders through the managed network of trails in the Paul Bunyan State Forest. The many resorts around the lake-rich area offer amenities and shopping for a vacation to remember.
Big Paul Bunyan
Akeley’s Paul Bunyan statue in the center of town can’t be missed. He is shown down on one knee with his huge hand held out to comfort kids of all ages. The 31-foot tall statue has welcomed visitors to Akeley for more than 25 years. There is a picnic area, covered pavilion and park close to Paul’s statue. Also, the Heartland Trail routes behind the pavilion and during warmer weather, you might find music, barbecues, parties and all kinds of activities going on around the town’s favorite icon.
Woodtick Theatre’s summer season kicks off in mid-June and runs through mid-September. When Frank Haas and his wife, Gail, made several trips to Branson, Mo., it was decided that northern Minnesota could use a similar type of entertainment. Together Frank and Bill Proudfoot joined forces and began the task of creating a theatre. Cindy and Mike Chase purchased the Woodtick Theatre in 1997 from the original owner, Frank Haas. The building is a former dry goods and grocery store that has been converted into this theater with the down home living room atmosphere.
Akeley is also home to two parks that provide an excellent area to spend time outdoors and have a picnic. City Park, Highway 34, Akeley. Picnic tables, shelter, Paul Bunyan Historical Society Museum, Paul Bunyan’s statue and Paul’s Cradle. City Beach & Campground, Highway 34 to Akeley, then follow signs. Public access to 11th Crow Wing Lake, shelter, picnic tables, fishing, boat landing and campground.
To see full event listing times and dates go to mndestinations.com.