Category Archives: Blog

Hill Moters Inc. & Let’em Buck – What do they do on their time off?

Check out our Chamber Members Dusty (Hill Motors) and Joanie (Let’em Buck).  Husband/wife – With two businesses up on Highway 75 in Ortonville.  When they are not working, they have Flat Hills Arena just east of Ortonville and host barrel and pole races with all runs PEWC sanctioned.  Bring the family out  – it’s free and so much fun!  Joanie is racing in one location or another all summer long!

You can find them on Facebook –
LINK:   Hill Motors
LINK:  Let’em Buck Apparel & Supply 

A few photos were taken at the May event – just for fun!


Chamber Easter!

The Big Stone Lake Area Chamber joined up with Fairway View Senior Communities to host two Easter events at Fairway View – first, the residents of Fairway View got together to make their Easter Bonnets – then there was the Easter Bonnet Parade (check out video #1).  Then the Easter Bunny arrived on the Saturday before Easter – residents handed out candy and there were pictures with the Bunny (check out video #2) – Smiles and fun everywhere!

Snowmobile Trails

Checking in with the Big Stone Lake Sno Riders (Facebook link where you will find all the latest news on trails!) – It has been a great snow year and the trails are definitely being enjoyed!  We talked with Lee Sigler Continue reading



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2018 Harvest Madness

Winner of the DRC Window Decorating Contest!
Congratulations Ortonville Flower Shop!

Harvest Madness Window Display Winner

SANTA DAY in Ortonville

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christmas parade poster 2018


Harvest Madness Store Front Window Contest

Harvest Madness 2018


DRC Window Decorating Contest

Harvest Madness 2018

Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC) on Big Stone Lake!

The MWC is presented by The Walleye Federation.

With the drop in water temps and weather changes, it was a tough bite on day one (and those that pre-fished took a weather-rich beating last week!)

Congratulations to this year’s winners Artie & Scott Arndt!

A few photos from Day 2 (photo credits to our friends at


As we wait for the anglers to come in off the lake today, here are a few photos taken from day 1 (photo credits to our friends at


The medallion hunt runs through Thursday, February 16. Clues given each morning on KDIO 13.50AM, at 9:20. $50 given away in Chamber Bucks, decreasing by $5 each day until found. Each day’s clue is good for 24 hours before the amount decreases.

Once near a “One Way”
Product from the ground,
A piece from the past,
In the area, can be found!

Win $45 in Chamber Bucks

Hustling, or perched upon
Were Scholar Rookies,
Along with Aptitude Wits,
Athlete’s and Royalties.

Today the clues ended.
As it came to be,
Plumber, Don Sykora
Solved the medallion mystery!


Santa Day

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Harvest Madness/Treat Street


Downtown Festival

The Downtown Revitalization Committee is a group of hosting businesses. Retail  stores on Second Street in Ortonville have sales, refreshments, and even consultants available. They hold a raffle, Classic Car Show, display local artwork, have live music, and lunches. Check out this video of their first festival!

2017 Dates – July 20 & 21

Lake Days June 2016

The weather was not looking good before the Lake Days activities started last night… but all cleared and we had an awesome evening!  Make sure to check the Lake Days Flyer for all of today’s activities!

Flyer PDF

Flyer JPG

LakeDaysCampfireSing from Vicki Oakes on Vimeo.



Lake Sturgeon: A Big Comeback to Big Stone Lake!

The lake sturgeon fingerlings stocked in Big Stone Lake in 2014 have really grown!

According to an online article written by Tom Cherveny, 14- and 15-inch lake sturgeon were netted earlier in February.

In September 2014, four- to six-inch fingerlings were stocked in Big Stone Lake by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources office in Ortonville. According to the article, the sturgeon are growing at a proper rate, and its reintroduction is going as planned.

To read the full article, click here.

To see the video of the sturgeon being stocked in 2014, click here.



31st Annual Pheasants Forever Banquet

It’s time for the 31st Annual Pheasants Forever Banquet in Ortonville!

The banquet is Saturday, March 19 at Sioux Historic Pavilion. Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m.

There will be a free door prize raffle for Pheasants Forever members!

For more information, or to RSVP, contact Greg Peterson at 320-760-5080.

Sports & Leisure Show

Our 23rd Annual Sports & Leisure Show will be March 19 and 20 at the Ortonville School!

Sports & Leisure Show poster: click here!

Spring-related Scavenger Hunt details: click here!

Raffle tickets are now available for purchase at the Chamber office! Great prizes this year include:
•GE camo freezer from Larry’s Refrigeration & Heating and a 55-lb meat bundle from Pioneer Meat;
•Groceries for 6 months from Hartman’s Supervalu Foods;
•Gas for a year from S&D OneStop / Cenex; and
•A print signed by Minnesota Twins great Tony Oliva!

Follow the activity on Facebook, too! Click here to go to the event!

To request a vendor application, contact the Chamber by emailing [email protected] or by calling 320-839-3284.

Master Gardener Teri Knight of Garden Bite with Teri Knight will be at the Sports & Leisure Show at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 19!

Teri Knight is the current news director and morning show talent at radio station KYMN in Northfield. She was the morning traffic reporter on television station WCCO from 1996 to 2006, as well as multiple radio stations throughout the Twin Cities from 1994 to 2006 and morning show personality on WLTE from 2006 to 2008.

She became a Master Gardener in 2003 and developed her “Garden Bite” radio show in 2007. The two-minute feature airs Monday through Friday on radio stations throughout Minnesota including KDIO Radio! Her show is about the “weekend weed warrior” or backyard gardener!

We look forward to having Teri in Ortonville for the Sports & Leisure Show!

Winter Photo Theme Weeks!

Through Explore Minnesota’s popular Instagram account, using #OnlyinMN_Winter, travelers can engage in winter theme weeks each Monday through Friday for a chance to win prizes or be featured in “Top Pics of the Week”!

Share your photos on your Instagram account to join the fun by following Explore Minnesota on Instagram.

  • Jan. 25-29: Sparkling Scenery (snow, ice, water, sunsets)
  • Feb. 1-5: Minnesota Food and Drink (your favorite #OnlyinMN dishes & drinks)
  • Feb. 8-12: Cozy Indoors (restaurants, cafes, shops, breweries, museums, theaters)
  • Feb. 22–26: Winter Sports/Adventure (skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice fishing)
  • Feb 29–March 4: Cabin Fever (ways to embrace the season, throwback spring photos)

MN Twins Visit Ortonville!

A Minnesota Twins great, a couple current stars and, of course, everyone’s favorite mascot, hit the road for the 2016 Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan and made a stop in Ortonville Thursday, January 21!

On the Caravan were current Twins pitchers Trevor May and Tyler Duffey, broadcaster Cory Provus, Twin great Tony Oliva and TC!

Check out a video from their stop by clicking this link:

Fishing the Midwest Features Big Stone Lake!

Fishing the Midwest made a stop to Big Stone Lake in the cold 2015 winter for some hot-bite fishing! Check out the episode here: Fishing the Midwest Episode 4

Fishing the Midwest’s Mike Frisch was also radio program guest on KFAN Outdoors, one of the Midwest’s leading radio outdoors programs. Click here for a link to that broadcast: Mike’s interview begins around the 32-minute mark.

Nominate a BSLA Community!

Main streets are filled with small businesses that have the passion and the drive to sustain its town.

The Small Business Revolution on Main Street awards one community a $500,000 makeover that includes “marketing services for small businesses in the community and revitalized public spaces, store fronts and more, designed to protect and reinvigorate the sense of community,” according to the Small Business Revolution website.

Nominate a Big Stone Lake area town by clicking here; the contest entry period ends January 28!

Small towns fewer than 50,000 residents will be considered. Nominees will be judged on challenges faced by local businesses and the town itself, impact of the Small Business Revolution on Main Street award and the need for support.

Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges and will then be put to a public vote during National Small Business Week (May 1—7).


The Big Stone Lake Area Chamber Board of Directors is excited to announce an event featuring one of our area’s greatest attractions: BIG STONE LAKE!
Lake Days Flyer 2

“This year’s cover photo of Big Stone Lake was taken by Ortonville native, Mary Fridgen Stuart.  After years of working in the corporate world, Mary her husband and
two cats moved to Belize.  While there, she started her photography business, Life Travels Photography, which focuses on images from her travels around the world.
Mary’s photos are available for purchase at”

A Look Back at 2015!

As we’re on the verge of a new year, we thought now would be a good time to take a look back at 2015! Thanks to Vicki Oakes of the Ortonville EDA and MNBump, we can do that! Below are some videos of this year’s events! Enjoy!

Graceville St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March)

Sports & Leisure Show: Just for Kix (March)

MWC Fishing Tournament (May)

Fairway View Senior Community Groundbreaking Ceremony (June)

Downtown Festival (July)

Cornfest: BSLA Sings Competition (August)

Cornfest: 5K/10K Run (August)

Holiday Kickoff (November)

Clinton Tasters Tea (November)

Santa Day (December)

We enjoyed 2015 and look forward to a great 2016!

Holiday Contest Winners!

Congratulations to the following winners of the Big Stone Lake Area holiday contests!

Business Decorating Contest Grand Prize: Hasslen Construction
“2nd Place”: Barr’s Conroy Electric
“3rd Place”: Grandma’s Thrifty Hideaway

Resident Decorating Contest 1st Place: Bill Hynnek on Minnesota St
2nd Place: Lane & Teresa Nelson on Minnesota St
3rd Place: Luke Backstrand on Highland Highway

Avenue of Trees Grand Prize: St. John’s Faith Formation Classes (prize donated to Watertown Right to Life)

See the gallery below for all the contest entries!

Thanks to all who participated!

Avenue of Trees!

Main Street Ortonville is merry and bright with a new Avenue of Trees!

The Avenue of Trees is located in the former Kaye lot (across from the Community Center)! People can vote for a favorite tree from December 5 to December 18. The trees, decorated by local businesses and organizations, are numbered. By the entrance is a ballot box to submit your vote.

In the spirit of the season of giving, the DRC and Chamber Director will donate $100 to a charity of choice by the group/person who decorated the public-voted favorite tree!

Voting ends December 18!

Holiday Train

The Canadian Pacific’s Holiday Train is ready to brighten communities and warm hearts for a 17th year!

​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Every year, the lighted Holiday Trains travel through dozens of communities, raising food and cash donations for North American food banks.

Again this year, the Holiday Train program is encouraging people attending events to bring heart healthy donations. Heart health education and awareness is a tenet of CP’s community investment program, CP Has Heart, which focuses on improving the heart health of men, women and children in communities across North America.

The two brightly lit trains kicked off their seasonal journey in the Montreal area November 27 and 28 on their way to visit approximately 150 communities. The “Canadian Train” travels west across Canada finishing its journey in British Columbia. The “US Train” visits communities across the U.S. Northeast and Midwest, and returns back to Canada for shows in Saskatchewan and Alberta.​​

In our area, the Holiday Train will stop in Glenwood and Alexandria December 13 and in Elbow Lake December 14. Other stops include southeastern Minnesota from December 6 through December 9 and the Twin Cities area from December 10 through 12.

Included with the Holiday Train are free concerts, but you’re encouraged to make a donation to the local food bank—either a non-perishable food item or a cash donation. All contributions will stay within the local community.​​

For a schedule of the train’s route as well as addresses and arrival times, visit

Lighted Parade!

Main Street Ortonville will be lit up with a Lighted Parade at 5 p.m. December 5 for Santa Day!

The parade route will start at the corner by Investors Advisory Management Group and will proceed to the Community Center.

Included in the Lighted Parade will be the Avenue of Trees! Following the parade, the trees will be lit in the former Kaye lot (across from the Community Center), where people can vote for a favorite tree from December 5 to December 18. There will be a ballot box in the lot to submit your vote.

In the spirit of the season of giving, the DRC and Chamber Director will donate $100 to a charity of choice by the group/person who decorated the public-voted favorite tree!

If anyone wants to have an entry in the Lighted Parade, contact the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber at 320-839-3284 or at [email protected]! by December 3!

Small Business Saturday

November 27, 2010 was the first Small Business Saturday; it was (and still is!) a day to encourage people across the country to support small, local businesses!

On Small Business Saturday in 2012, 79.3 million people went out to shop at small businesses, and last year, an estimated $14.3 billion was spent at small independent businesses on Small Business Saturday.

This year, Small Business Saturday is November 28! In the Big Stone Lake Area (all the way from Clinton to Ortonville to Big Stone City), 37 small businesses have registered with American Express and are listed on the Small Business Saturday website!

While some Black Friday shopping is OK, supporting our local businesses November 28 on Small Business Saturday is just as great!

Santa Day!

Santa (and the Mrs.) Claus is comin’ to Ortonville!

The Claus’ will be in town December 5 for Santa Day! They will be at Lingonberry’s Pastry & Coffee Shop for pictures with the kiddos from 1 to 3 p.m.! They will also be riding in the Lighted Parade at 5 p.m.!

Other activities include holiday arts & crafts, cookie decorating, an adult ugly sweater contest, hay rides and holiday movies!

Stick around for the Lighted Parade and Avenue of Trees Lighting at 5 p.m.!

Click here for a Santa Day poster!

Click here for the Ugly Sweater Contest poster!

Holiday Contests!

‘Tis the season…to turn the Big Stone Lake Area into a magical wonderland of lights! This season, the first ever Big Stone Lake Area Holiday Decorating Contest will be during the following dates:

  • Decorating & Entry Period: November 1—December 3
  • Lighting Period: through December 25
  • Judging: before December 18
  • Winners Announced: December 21

The grand prize winner will receive 10 percent off a 2016 Chamber membership!

Please read the decorating contest rules and instructions here.

Entry applications are available here, by emailing [email protected] or by stopping into the Chamber office!

If you have any questions, contact the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber at 320-839-3284.

Let’s make the Big Stone Lake area merry and BRIGHT this holiday season!

Avenue of Trees!

Any business, organization or community member that would like to light up the vacant lot across from the Ortonville Community Center can do so with decorated trees!

The Avenue of Trees will be displayed in the Lighted Parade during Santa Day in Ortonville December 5! Following the parade, they will be lit in the former Kaye lot (across from the Community Center), where people can vote for a favorite tree from December 5 to December 18. There will be a ballot box in the former Kaye lot to submit your vote.

In the spirit of the season of giving, the DRC and Chamber Director will donate $100 to a charity of choice by the group/person who decorated the public-voted favorite tree!

A challenge to the surrounding communities has been issued! Decorate a tree from your community and have it represented in our Lighted Parade December 5! Your community’s tree will be on display in the Avenue of Trees, too!

For more details and to get involved in the Avenue of Trees, contact the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber at 320-839-3284 or at [email protected]!

Residential Holiday Decorating Contest!

A holiday decorating contest for Ortonville and Big Stone City residents is also in the works! Nominations will be taken for the contest.

  • Nomination Period: November 30—December 16
  • Lighting Period: December 17—December 25
  • Judging: December 17—December 18
  • Winners Announced: December 21

First place receives $50 in Chamber Bucks; 2nd place will get $35 in Chamber Bucks; and 3rd place will receive $15 in Chamber Bucks!

Please click here for more details!

Lighted Parade!

Main Street Ortonville will be lit up with a Lighted Parade at 5 p.m. December 5 for Santa Day!

The parade route will start at the corner by Investors Advisory Management Group and will proceed to the former Kaye lot (across from the community center).

If anyone wants to have an entry in the Lighted Parade, contact the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber at 320-839-3284 or at [email protected]! by December 3!

Shopping the Bump & Loving It!

The old adage “shop local” has lost some of its once-held charm, but a new slogan is revitalizing the same sentiment in the area.

The Ortonville Economic Development Authority and the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce staff announce the creation of MNBump bags. These drawstring bags sport the slogan “Shopping the Bump and loving it!” The bag has a center compartment that creates versatility of use: from the mom on the go to the kid going to basketball practice to the shopper getting those great holiday deals. There is also a side pocket and water bottle holder for additional storage.

The MNBump bags are for sale for $15 at the EDA and Chamber offices. The entire sale will be given to the Chamber’s Downtown Revitalization Committee. The funds will be used by the DRC to expand the festivals, events and projects like planters and seating areas; watch the Chamber website for all upcoming DRC activities!

Inspired by the sale of the bags, the DRC is starting a Busted! campaign November 19 at the Snowflake Lighting Ceremony in Ortonville. Two times a week for five weeks, those spotted shopping Ortonville with the MNBump bags will be “busted” and will receive $20 in Chamber Bucks. The Busted! campaign will run from November 19 to December 24.

Big Stone Lake: the Midwest’s new winter perch hot spot!

By Mike Frisch

Big Stone Lake, on the Minnesota and South Dakota border, has long had a reputation as a top-notch walleye fishery. Because of the lake’s walleye fishing opportunities, this 26-mile long, 12,610-acre border water lake is a top open-water fishing destination and has hosted many walleye tournaments sponsored by some of the country’s top tournament circuits.

While the walleye has long been king, Big Stone also has a booming perch fishery that now offers anglers another top-notch open-water fishing opportunity. News of the good perch fishing is drawing more and more summer and fall anglers, but winter is the time when the perch fishing really takes center stage!

Artie Arndt is an Ortonville, Minn. native (Ortonville is at the foot of the lake, which is also the headwaters of the Minnesota River) who has fished the lake since childhood and has a good handle on fishing the lake during all seasons. Recognizing the great perch fishing opportunities available, Arndt started renting fish houses and guiding anglers on Big Stone though his bait shop in Ortonville two winters ago. Most of his rental service and guide business is geared towards the lake’s numerous perch.

“I started the rental business as the perch boom started,” Arndt offered when asked about his new business. “It goes hand-in-hand with our bait shop and is enjoyable for me because I like helping others catch fish,” he went on.

Arndt and the guides who work for him are a hard-working bunch who are constantly on the move searching for the best bite. “Much of the winter perch fishing occurs on the south end of the lake,” Arndt offered when asked about where anglers should start their perch search. “Rocky ledge and the islands are popular areas for finding perch, though anglers are advised to stay on the move as the bite often moves from day to day and even during the course of the same day.” he added. “If you want to stay on the fish, you have to be willing to move,” Arndt advised.

The key to catching perch on Big Stone is usually finding them. Once found, a variety of traditional jigging spoons and lures tipped with spikes will often catch fish. When the bite is tough, downsizing to tiny tungsten jigs still tipped with spikes is often the key to putting some fish in the pail.

While the perch is king during the winter on Big Stone, the walleyes are another good option as well. “The north end of the lake holds lots of walleyes during the winter months,” Arndt offered when asked about finding those fish. “The late afternoon bite is good, though anglers willing to fish after dark into the night are often rewarded for their efforts,” Arndt went on.

Perch and walleyes are the top winter draws on Big Stone though other species, most notably bluegills and crappies, are present in the lake as well. “We are very excited about a growing population of crappies and bluegills in the lake,” Arndt stated. “The lake’s bluegills are big and seem to be growing in numbers, while the crappie population is really booming now as well,” he continued. “The area by the islands is also good for these fish, though I’ll bet there are some unknown hot spots for both bluegills and crappies that we don’t know about because these fish don’t get much pressure,” he concluded.

If these top winter fishing opportunities are of interest, anglers can talk to Arndt himself or one of his guides by stopping at Artie’s Bait and Tackle in Ortonville. The friendly employees there are always ready to lend a hand in helping visiting anglers get dialed in to the top fish-producing areas and they have a full supply of bait and tackle. Anglers and hunters wanting up-to-the minute fishing and hunting reports or those interested in guided fishing or a rental fish house can also call the bait shop at 320-839-2480.

In addition to fine fishing, the Big Stone area also has fine dining and a variety of lodging options for the out-of-town angler as well. Information about the entire Big Stone Lake area, including food and lodging details, can be found by visiting the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber at

Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the popular Fishing the Midwest television series. Learn more by visiting or following Fishing the Midwest on Facebook.

Harvest Madness!

Great ghosts, goblins and ghouls…it’s almost time for Halloween! And that means it’s also time for Harvest Madness in Ortonville!

Harvest Madness / Treat Street will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, October 30! Before starting on the Treat Street route, pick up a treat bag from Ortonville Area Health Services starting at 3 p.m.!

There will be trick or treating in downtown Ortonville at participating businesses. Just look for the Harvest Madness pumpkins in a business’ window! Kids can also get treats by walking through the Trunk or Treat vehicles set up in the Lower parking lot!

Additional activities in store for this year’s Harvest Madness include Halloween Bingo, $5 Trick or Treat Photos and Hay Rides! Proceeds from the photos will go to future Downtown Revitalization Committee projects and events! Also look for special activities in the empty lots on Main Street!

For a full Harvest Madness poster, click here!

More details can be found on the Harvest Madness Facebook event page here!

Halloween Bingo:

Pick up cards at Artie’s Bait & Tackle (748 2nd St SE), collect all 12 stamps from businesses listed on card and return the card to GoFasters Powersports & Marine (209 1st St NW)! Drawing for prizes will be at 6 p.m. at GoFasters. Must be present to win!

Congratulations to the winners of Halloween Bingo: Aliyah Ash, Dante Warner, Braxton Raffety, Scarlett Hoefs and Isabelle Haukos!


Upcoming Events

A list of our upcoming events in the Big Stone Lake area!

October 28: Harvest Madness in Ortonville (watch for details)

December 3: Santa Day in Ortonville (watch for details)

Make sure to check out our calendar for a full list activities!


Calling All Photographers!

We need your help in showing off the Big Stone Lake area!

Explore Southern Minnesota is looking to refresh the Southern Minnesota travel guide with photos of area landmarks, landscapes, festivals, attractions, etc.

Click here for more details! The deadline to submit photos is October 1!

If you have any questions, contact the Chamber by calling 320-839-3284, by sending an email to [email protected] or by stopping in to the office!