Author Archives: Ortonville DRC

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!

Checkpoint MN Launches!

Winter in Minnesota is fun, and Checkpoint MN is the perfect way to get out and explore the state this season!

In its third year, this statewide scavenger hunt is sponsored by Explore Minnesota and runs from December 3 to January 31!

There are 10 checkpoint signs at iconic destinations across Minnesota. Participants earn prizes by traveling to checkpoints, taking a photo of themselves with the sign and uploading it to social media. Make sure to use the hashtag #OnlyinMN!

The checkpoints this year are:

  • Lowell Park in Stillwater
  • Zumbrota Covered Bridge in Zumbrota
  • August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm
  • TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis
  • Cuyuna State Recreation Area in Crosby-Ironton
  • World’s Largest Free Standing Hockey Stick & Puck in Eveleth
  • Voyageurs National Park at the Rainy Lake Visitors Center in International Falls
  • Mille Lacs Kathio State Park in Onamia
  • Hopperstad Stave Church at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead
  • Arctic Cat, Inc. in Thief River Falls

Get more details about the Checkpoint MN scavenger hunt here!

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! 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 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!

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! 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.

Linda’s Fashions

101 S Main
Milbank, SD 57252

TELEPHONE: (605) 432-5591

Like Linda’s Fashion’s on Facebook!

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!


Horseshoe Courts

From the intersection of 2nd St (Main Street) and Jackson Ave in Ortonville, head northeast on Jackson Ave. Go three and a half blocks; at the fork, take a right. The skating rink is down the hill!

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-3428

Ice Skating Rink


The rink is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. The warming house is open weekdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

If the temperature is colder than 10 degrees, the rink may not be open.

Skates are available for use! If skating on the hockey rink, helmets are required.

From the intersection of 2nd St (Main Street) and Jackson Ave in Ortonville, head northeast on Jackson Ave. Go three and a half blocks; at the fork, take a right. The skating rink is down the hill!

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-3428

Big Stone Area Growth

706 SE 2nd St
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-6155

Off the Green / Gopher Hole Bar

145 Golf Course Rd
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-3606

Like Off The Green/Gopher Hole Bar on Facebook!

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 or by stopping in to the office!

Milbank Area Chamber of Commerce

1001 East 4th Ave
Milbank, SD 57252

TELEPHONE: (605) 432-6656


Night Moves DJ Service

616 Park Ave
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (218) 443-6431


Conrad Bookkeeping Solutions

616 Park Ave
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (218) 443-0886

Ortonville School Foundation

200 Trojan Drive
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-6181   or   (320)839-6183

Like the Ortonville School Foundation on Facebook!

Valley Rental & Recycling, LLC.

802 S Madison St.
Milbank, SD 57252

TELEPHONE: (605) 432-5854

Like Valley Rental & Recycling on Facebook!


48416 144th St.
Big Stone City, SD 57216

TELEPHONE: (605) 862-7902

Like POET Biorefining on Facebook!

Lingonberry’s Pastry and Coffee Shop

124 2nd St. NW
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 305-6232

Like Lingonberry’s Pastry and Coffee Shop on Facebook!

The Furniture Shoppe

249 2nd St NW
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-2212

Like The Furniture Shoppe on Facebook!

Snortum’s Landscape & Design

313 1st St.
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-7060

77th Annual Cornfest!

Here is where you will find all news and updates related to the 77th Annual Cornfest, which is August 14 through 16! Click here for a full schedule of events!

Kids Pedal Pull

Parade Application

5K/10K Run/Walk Application

Contact the Chamber office for an Arts & Crafts vendor application!

Click here for a look back at past Cornfests!

Connie’s Cozy Retreat

48480 Bailey’s Bay
Big Stone City, SD 57216
TELEPHONE:  (605) 880-4041


                                                                      FOR RENT

Comfortable mobile home for rent on beautiful Big Stone Lake
3 bedroom-1 full, 2 queen
Kitchen fully stocked with all cookware & eating utensils
Fully furnished bed/bath/kitchen towels & linens
40 foot private dock
1 mile from public lake access

                                   Weekend Rate $99 per day (2 night minimum)
                                   Weekday Rate $89 per day (Monday-Thursday)
Full Week Rate $599


Fees are for single family or 4 adults

Call 605-880-4041 to reserve this relaxing getaway!

Nelson Electric

859 Maple Ave
PO Box 293
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-2631

Midland Publishing

203 S 3rd St
Milbank, SD 57252
TELEPHONE: (605) 432-1000

Like Midland Publishing on Facebook!

Big Stone Lake State Park

35889 Meadowbrook State Park Rd
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-3663

Like Big Stone Lake State Park on Facebook!

Monthly and seasonal camping from May 6 to Labor Day at two sites with an electric hook-up.

National Travel & Tourism Highlights in the Big Stone Lake Area

May 2 through 10 was National Travel and Tourism Week! Every day, we posted a feature of the Big Stone Lake Area! Check out the links we posted & visit the Big Stone Lake area soon!

Day 1: Today’s feature: our area lakes! Beautiful Big Stone Lake in  Ortonville/Big Stone City and Toqua Lake in Graceville are sure to be a great place for picnics, fishing or just chilling in a boat or on the shoreline!

Day 2: Have you ever wondered where to find out facts about the Big Stone Lake area? The Big Stone County Museum has the answers (and lots of other cool things, too!)! The Museum is today’s feature for National Travel & Tourism Week!

Day 3: Take a walk or take a drive, and you are guaranteed to see some sort of wildlife in our Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge!

Day 4: Every fall, the Meander: Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl comes through the Big Stone Lake area! But with so much local talent, art and culture can be seen every day, too!

Day 5: While you’re out and about, taking in nature or the local art scene, stop in to any of our shops! We have everything from hardware to specialty!

Day 6: FORE! Get out on the green with the Big Stone Lake area’s two golf courses: one in Ortonville and one in Graceville! Both offer challenging courses with food and carts available! There’s even something called FootGolf at the Ortonville Golf Course!

Day 7: Who could forget about food?! The Big Stone Lake area features a variety of eating establishments from supper clubs to fast food to pizza places! There’s even a 1950s diner! Check them out here!

Day 8: At the end of a long day of exploring the Big Stone Lake area, where do you want to rest your head? There’s everything from bed & breakfasts and hotels to cabins and camping! Click here to see all the options!

Day 9: And finally, all summer long, there are many family-fun festivals and fairs to enjoy! Celebrate Clinton Days, Big Stone City’s 130th Celebration, the Big Stone County Fair, Graceville’s Toquatennial Days and Ortonville’s Cornfest…all are great fun!

Thanks for following along each day for a feature of the Big Stone Lake area during National Travel & Tourism Week!


113 NW 1st St
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-6123

Dr. Steven Winther, DDS

17 2nd St SE
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-2596

Hi-Lo Apartments

717 West 5th Street
Graceville, MN 56240


Larry’s Refrigeration & Heating

225 2nd St NW
Ortonville, MN 56278

TELEPHONE: (320) 839-3882

Like Larry’s Refrigeration  on Facebook!