Ice Out/Loon In Party

The Freshwater Society is proud to announce its first annual Ice Out/Loon In Party scheduled from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, at the Bayview Events Center, 687 Excelsior Blvd. in Excelsior.


To register and buy tickets on-line, click here.

As the official “caller” of ice-out on Lake Minnetonka since 1968, the Freshwater Society wants to celebrate the break-up of ice on the lake and the return – often while the lake is still partly covered with ice — of Minnesota’s iconic state bird, the loon. Ice-out on Lake Minnetonka has been recorded since 1855. Ice on the lake is declared by the Freshwater Society as officially “out” when it is possible to travel by small boat from any one shore to another shore through any passage on the lake.

Volunteer to help the Freshwater Society conduct this important fund-raising event. Contact:
Diane Lynch at 952-314-8134.

The earliest recorded ice-out was March 11, 1878. The latest was May 8, 1856. The median date is April 14. This year, the ice-out date was April 14. Last year, it came on April 2. Check out information on historic ice-outs.

The public is invited to attend the Ice Out /Loon In party. Tickets to the informal party are $30 per person or $50 for two in advance, and $35 and $60 at the door. Tickets are available at the Freshwater Society offices in Excelsior and Anoka and on-line.

Paul Huttner, chief meteorologist for Minnesota Public Radio and the author of MPR’s Updraft Blog, will emcee the event.

Hors d’hoeurves and drinks will be served in the festive décor of the Bayview Events Center. A bluegrass band will provide music. Guests will be able to buy raffle tickets for two prizes:

  • A Pier Two trial membership, donated by Luke Kujawa of Your Boat Club. The membership, valued at $1,495, will allow the winner to use runabouts, fishing boats or pontoon boats on Lake Minnetonka five times a year.
  • A Nook, Barnes and Noble’s popular electronic book, offering access to 2 million titles. The Nook was donated by a Freshwater supporter, who wishes to be anonymous.

A silent auction will feature:

A week’s vacation at Glen Eden Resort near Steamboat Springs, Col., donated by Freshwater Board member David Knoblauch; a 25-foot boat slip, donated by Tonka Bay Marina; a kayak trip around Split Rock Lighthouse, donated by Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center; and a History Cruise on Lake Minnetonka with naturalist Jim Gilbert and a corporate meeting cruise, both donated by Bayview Events Center.

Additional auction items include: a two-night stay at Gilbert Moose Lodge, donated by Jim Gilbert; a fly fishing lesson, donated by Grant Phillips; a wine cruise on Lake Minnetonka for eight people, donated by Freshwater Board vice chair Tom Skramstad; a restored antique boat moter, donated by Steve Gray; design and construction of a 300-square-foot deck, donated by Freshwater Board member Rick Bateson; a hancrafted oak and leather game table, donated by Rick Benson; a pearl necklace and earrings, donated by Evergreen Jewelers; a white gold floral pendant, donated by Freshwater Board member Barb Luikens; golf for four at Windsong Farm Golf Club, donated by Rick Bateson; three sets of Minnesota Twins tickets, donated by The MaGuire Agency, Jim Nelson and Kent Sward; and water-themed glass sculptures, donated by Zeller Studio.

Also: Memberships in the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Minnesota Historical Society; framed prints of Lake Minnetonka scenes, donated by Gallery Navarre and The Great Frame Up; a commuter bag and rolling backpack, donated by Patagonia; a wine tasting, donated by Lakeside Liquors; a feng shui consultation, donated by Energetic Alignments; a floral design and consultation, donated by Heidi’s Gardens; landscape design, donated by MP Landscaping; a sailing class, donated by Lake Minnetonka Sailing School; a birder’s basket with binoculars, donated by All Seasons Wild Bird Store; boatload of wine, donated by BOD; a basket of Minnesota wines, donated by Parley Lake Winery; a framed loon photo, donated by Eric Baker; and a boat party set, donated by Kate Bryant and Gallery Navarre.

Gift certificates or gift baskets have been donated by Lord Fletchers, Sunsets, Lund’s, Maynards, the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, Paradise Brunch Cruise, Mind and Body Solutions, KeikoB Salon Spa, Midwest Mountaineering, Country Cupboard and Otten Brothers.

The party will offer a fascinating program, including:

  • Naturalist Jim Gilbert, teaching us about “Loon Logic.”
  • Loon-calling contest.
  • Bearded Men improv theater troupe.
  • Freshwater founder Dick Gray and naturalist Jim Gilbert, speaking on the history of ice-outs on the lake.
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Loon Project: “Where do They Go: To the Gulf and Beyond.”
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Center: “The Amazing World of Birds and Critter Rehabilitation.

For more information, please contact Diane Lynch, director of development, at 952-314-8134 or View directions to the Bayview Events Center.



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