Freeland Walleye Festival Returns for 36th Year

Cancelled in 2020 and reinstated on a smaller scale in 2021, this year’s Freeland Walleye Festival promises to return with a bang.

Running Thursday through Sunday April 28 – May 1, the 36th annual festival features a slew of activities for the whole family, like a carnival, car show, parade, kid’s trout pond and the popular garage sales. New this year are rubber duck races and a youth cornhole tournament.

And of course the fishing tournament. Walleye season officially opens at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 30 with the tournament running until 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. Freeland Lion’s Club member and one of the festival organizers Mike Weadock says anglers can fish on any open Michigan waterway as part of the tournament.

One of the biggest draws of the fesitval are the garages sales on Thursday and Friday. Weadock says anywhere between 30-40,000 people come to the festival just for the sales. Traffic becomes so congested on those days that Freeland area schools will be closed.

Many of the events and activities will take place at Hayes Park. Formerly called Tittabawasee Township park, it was renamed in honor of Rick Hayes, who passed away April 1, 2021. Hayes was a founding member of the Freeland Walleye Festival Committee and was an active member of the Freeland Lion’s Club.

For more information about events and activities during the festival, visit freelandwalleyefestival.com.