By Josh Perttunen
For those looking to catch a good time, the spirit of Kalkaska's 2009 National Trout Festival is warm, so jump right in. It may be a little town, but it features a "Big Trout," as this year's Trout Festival slogan "Little town, big trout" proclaims.
The event surfaces on Wednesday, April 23, with the coronation of the Trout King and Queen. This event will take place at 6 p.m. in the heart of downtown, with the Trout Memorial beaming its favor upon the newly-crowned royalty.
Then the Chamber of Commerce will offer a taste of things to come, as they host an open house at their offices. A literal taste of the celebration will also be proffered to those in attendance, as the "Taste of Trout" cooking contest will put the area's finest chefs to the test.
Several events will hatch on Thursday and grow throughout the rest of the festival.
The flea market and the Skerbeck Brothers Carnival both begin at the Kalkaska County Fairgrounds at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.
Also starting on Thursday, festival-goers venturing near the old Kalkaska police garage and maintenance building will have to wade through streams of music. They may even be reeled in - through the swinging doors - to check out the Shady Belle for music and refreshments.
The event is such a big deal that children are let off the hook for half a day of school on "Trout Friday." This frees the younger crowd to submerge itself into the 2 p.m. youth parade or prepare for the first round of Kalkaska Idol at 6 p.m. The event is a talent contest, taking place at the Kalkaska County Civic Center, that has pre-teen (5-12), teen (13-18) and adult (19 and up) age groups.