Thin ice cancels first tip-up town ice fishing competition of 2024, the Races at Houghton Lake

Thin ice cancels first tip-up town ice fishing competition of 2024, the Races at Houghton Lake

HOUGHTON LAKE, MI – Thin ice conditions on Houghton Lake have prompted Tip-Up Town 2024 organizers to cancel the first weekend’s ice fishing competitions and side-by-side races.

Regardless of the icy conditions, Tip-Up Town 2024 is a great opportunity. However, organizers don’t want the recent snowstorm and freezing temperatures to give event-goers a false sense of security.

“Before that snowstorm and that cold snap, we had open water,” said Melissa Sullivan, spokeswoman for the Houghton Lake Chamber of Commerce. “We do not recommend any snowmobiles at all.”

The annual Winter Festival begins this week with most activities on Saturday and Sunday, January 20 and 21, and continues next Saturday, January 27.

Due to thin ice conditions and inconsistent measurements, this weekend’s Lyman Ice Fishing Contest and the “I’d Brap That” side-by-side ice race have been canceled, Sullivan said. As of Thursday, January 18, no other events have been cancelled.

“Just the first weekend, the ice fishing competition was canceled,” she said. “It’s still up in the air for the second week.”

Recent ice measurements have been variable, with some spots up to 2 inches thick, said Curt Bechnau, owner of Lyman’s on the Lake, a bait and tackle shop located at 6560 W. Houghton Lake Drive.

“There are a lot of amateurs coming in, and we don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” Bechnau said.

He said the ice would have to be at least 4 inches thick for people to be able to get out on it.

“On 4 inches of ice, you can walk on it. You need 6 inches of ice to be able to drive a go-kart or a snowmobile. You need 8 to 12 inches to carry a larger side-by-side, and more than 12 inches, you’ll carry Pickup truck.’ “There are a lot of 4-inch-wide spots, but you have to go over some 2-inch-wide spots to get there.”

The good news? Almost all of Tip-Up Town’s activities take place on land, so a lack of ice won’t stop the fun.

“They can expect a magical experience. It’s a great family fun event. This year, we’re really happy to have a lot of snow,” Sullivan said. “We’re excited to welcome snowmobilers back to our community.”

In addition to ice skating, Tip-Up Town will offer a vintage snowmobile display, ice sculptures, a polar bear plunge, a carnival and games, a petting zoo, vendors and food trucks, music, a warm tent with adult beverages, and a Tip-Pup Town dog. Show, new indoor golf, cornhole, and basketball tournaments hosted by North Center, and a show with a new track.

This year, the parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Tractor Supply Yard and will travel west on M-55 to Townline Road and to the festival site.

Click here to see the full schedule of events.

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