While stingy ice continued to cling to area lakes earlier this week, thoughts already turned to the 2014 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener that will be on Gull Lake.
The Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber, with help from the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce, will host the 67th annual event May 8-11, 2014, and Grand View Lodge in Nisswa will serve as event headquarters. Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state’s tourism promotion office, organizes this event each year in coordination with a host community.
“The Brainerd lakes area has a long tradition as a fishing destination, and now, it’s also well-known for great golfing, scenic bike trails, numerous resorts and more,” John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism, said in a news release. “The Governor’s Fishing Opener will put Brainerd lakes in the spotlight, with all it has to offer travelers.”
About a dozen representatives from the Brainerd lakes area spent last weekend in Park Rapids, site of this year’s Governor’s Fishing Opener, and were on hand Saturday, May 11, when the Brainerd lakes area was announced as the 2014 host community.
“The Brainerd Lakes Chamber and Grand View Lodge are thrilled to showcase the Brainerd lakes area as the site of the 2014 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener,” Lisa Paxton, Brainerd Lakes Chamber CEO, and Mark Ronnei, Grand View Lodge general manager, said in a news release. “The fishing opener will provide a great fishing experience and a glimpse into all that there is to see and do, ranging from world-class golfing to extreme mountain biking, in this outdoor paradise of the Brainerd lakes area.”
The theme for next year’s event is a Grand Fishing Opener. Event co-chairs are Steve Mau, owner of Brainerd General Rental, and Frank Soukup, Grand View Lodge director of marketing. Nate Grotzke of Close-Converse is sponsor chair.
“It takes hundreds of community members and organizations, such as the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce, coming together to make this event successful,” Paxton said. “We look forward to the opportunity to work together to make this event grand.”
Shawn Hansen, Nisswa chamber director, said, “It is fantastic news that the Brainerd lakes area will be hosting the 2014 Governor’s Fishing Opener. The Nisswa Chamber is proud to partner with Grand View Lodge and the Brainerd Lakes Chamber to bring an event to our area that will highlight tourism. Downtown Nisswa will be the location of the community picnic on Friday of opener weekend. Our community will embrace this opportunity and we look forward to hosting the picnic in Nisswa.”
Paxton said the community picnic is a free opportunity for the entire community to share in the celebration.
“It’s a party like no other and will showcase our region to the hundreds of visitors who annually attend the Governor’s Fishing Opener,” she said.
While Grand View is the event headquarters, activities will be planned throughout the Brainerd lakes region to showcase the lakes area as one community with unique neighborhoods, Paxton said.
Jenna Crawford is the Pequot Lakes area director of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber.
“This is a great undertaking and opportunity for our area,” Crawford said. “We have such a variety of things to do in such a beautiful setting backed by wonderful communities. It is always great to show the rest of Minnesota what we have to offer here in the Brainerd lakes area. We want to show guests that we are not just a fishing destination but can entertain so much more. I welcome the amount of work we have ahead of us and am happy to be partnering with Grand View Lodge and the community for this Minnesota tradition.”
The Governor’s Fishing Opener has been a tradition in Minnesota since 1948. The event was designed to promote the development of Minnesota’s recreation industry, and in recent years, it has served as a kick-off celebration for the summer tourism season. Travel and tourism generate $11.9 billion in leisure and hospitality gross sales in Minnesota annually.
The opener provides the host community with an opportunity to highlight local fishing and other recreational activities, attractions and points of interest. Media from throughout the region attend the event, resulting in significant publicity for the host community and Minnesota.
For more information, visit www.mngovernorsopener.com.