Category Archives: Blog Featured

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

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)

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).

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!

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.

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!

All About Fishing!

Fishing Big Stone Lake

by:  Mike Frisch

Big Stone Lake on the Minnesota/South Dakota border is a very popular spring walleye fishing destination.  Why?  First, because the water is a border water, it opens to the legal taking of game fish like walleyes earlier than the traditional Minnesota inland game season.  The season opens this year on April 23.

Second, the lake is full of walleyes of all sizes, so not only can early spring anglers scratch their early season fishing itch, but the odds of finding some cooperative walleyes is pretty good!

Opening day walleyes are often in the spawning mode so fishing shoreline rocks is a popular method as these fish pull up right tight to the shorelines at this time.  When saying tight to shore, I mean landing your jig right at the spot where water meets rocks!

Artie Arndt from Artie’s Bait & Tackle grew up fishing Big Stone and is one of the “sticks to beat” in any Big Stone walleye fishing competition as he has an impressive resume’ when it comes to Big Stone tournament and walleye league events.  “Landing that jig tight to shore is key during early season,” Arndt offered, when asked how to catch spring Big Stone walleyes.  “If you land the jig a couple feet out from shore, you’re often too far from the fish,” he continued.

Small jigs tipped with small minnows is the key at this time of the year.  The always popular 1/16-ounce Fire-Ball Jig tipped with a fathead get lots of play when pitching to shallow Big Stone walleyes.  “Give me a few 1/16-ounce parakeet-colored Fire-Balls and a scoop of fatheads and I’m in business,” Arndt offered when asked about his bait preferences on opening day.

Most Big Stone experts like Arndt favor fishing mid-lake and north and tight to shore for early season Big Stone success.  As the water warms, however, the bite gets better to the south along and around the lake’s islands and the fish head deeper as well.  “By mid-May, and maybe earlier this year, I like to be fishing further south around the islands,” Arndt continued.  “During low light or when the wind blows, I still get tight to the rocks, but during mid-day fishing deeper and even into the basin pulling spinners or crankbaits starts to produce big catches too,” he went on.

When Arndt refers to “the basin” he is talking about the 12- to 16-foot depths – some of Big Stone’s deepest waters – out from the shore.  Big Stone had an unusually early ice out this year – March 15 – so Arndt feels that may be a wild card.  “Typically that basin bite really goes mid-May, but who knows maybe we will see it in late April and early May this year,” he concluded.

Big Stone’s booming walleye fishery has been noticed by the competitive angling crowd too, as the always popular Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit makes another stop in Ortonville (the lake’s headwaters) on April 29-30.  In addition to several local tournaments, the AIM Weekend Walleye Series is also holding a Big Stone event, May 22, this year.

Walleyes are the main Big Stone draw during spring and summer, but the lake also has a good population of big bluegills and crappies as well as an emerging largemouth bass population.  During winter, Big Stone’s perch attract anglers from all across the Midwest.

To learn more about all things Big Stone, visit the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at

Click here for a list of lodging options in the Big Stone Lake area.

The latest fishing report can be found on Artie’s Bait & Tackle on Facebook!

Link to DNR Fishing

Check out our latest “Fishing” Blog Posts below:

[display-posts category=”Fishing” posts_per_page=”20″]

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!