BRIDGEWATER — Get those augers ready, as the 23rd Annual Ice Fishing Derby to benefit the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department comes to Newfound Lake on February 22 and 23. The return of this Newfound tradition is the major fundraiser of the year supporting the Alexandria Fire Department.
"Alexandria is the only privately-owned volunteer fire department in the state," notes Holly Kerouac, owner of Newfound Grocery and one of the event organizers. "They do not accept any taxpayer dollar to support their operations." She says the Alexandria Fire Department was built in 1963 where it stands today at the foot of Cardigan Mountain Road. As the story goes, a man lost his wife in a house fire there back in 1963 as there wasn't a fire department in town at the time. Afterwards, he donated the land and put up a building.
Today the Alexandria Fire Department has 30 members, and much like the community effort to bring it about, the annual fishing derby represents a renewal of that commitment. All Derby participants must register by 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 22 in order to be eligible for Derby prizes. Registration is $20 and can be done: online at Eventbrite.com, the Alexandria Fire Department, Newfound Grocery, Bristol Shop-n-Save, Newfound Trading Post and AJ's Bait & Tackle in Meredith. You can also register on February 22 at Derby Headquarters which will be located on Cummings Beach in Bristol.
Prizes will be awarded for the top three largest fish overall, followed by the three largest fish in five categories: rainbow trout, lake trout, cusk, pickerel and perch. There will be separate cash prizes for children participating in the derby. All fish must be legally and freshly caught on Newfound Lake by the registrant/ticket holder. Additionally there will be raffle prizes and a 50/50 raffle.
Holly says, "Planning began three months ago, and we are grateful to the many sponsors who are making this year's event possible." Newfound Grocery will be hosting the concessions at Derby Headquarters, as well as having "the Skidoo girls" out on the lake with hot food and beverages. The event's other major sponsors include: The Inn on Newfound Lake, Bristol Shop-n-Save, Skip's Gun Shop, Newfound Trading Post, Goodrum Electric, Shokal Builders, Gina's Place, West Shore Marine, Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast and the Plymouth Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Whether you are an angler getting ready for a day on the ice, or just want to support the cause, join the fun at a spaghetti dinner at Newfound Grocery from 4:30 – 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 22. The "all you can eat" dinner is $10 per person, $6 for kids 12 and under. All proceeds benefit the Alexandria Fire Department. You can also get your official Derby sweatshirt, or enter the raffle for a pop-up ice house and auger.
For more information about the Derby call Newfound Grocery at (603) 744-8616 or Alexandria Fire Chief Mark Chevalier at (603) 455-1591.