Boulder Junction’s 2020 Musky Jamboree – The One That Got Away

June 16, 2020

Muskellunge, Musky or Esox Masquinongy – the fish of 10,000 casts – has been celebrated in in Boulder Junction, the Musky Capital of the World®, each August for 64 years. The Musky Jamboree started out in 1957 as a way for resort owners, fishing guides and other area businesses to express their appreciation for visitors to the area. What began as a Musky Feed for close to 3000 people (Musky filled with wild rice stuffing cooked over a huge log barbeque pit) has evolved into a three-day festival that is representative of a holiday weekend in Boulder Junction.

This year’s Musky Jamboree, like many stories told about this great fish, is the one that got away. With the safety of the community and our beloved visitors at the top of our minds and following the recommendations of our state and local health officials that large gatherings are not advisable due to the sustained close contact of attendees, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Musky Jamboree.

We understand the impact this has on businesses, organizations, and families that rely on the Musky Jamboree to provide the social and economic boost our community needs. This unanimous decision is one that the chamber board has taken very seriously and included many different scenarios to safely hold our weekend long celebration this year. With the expected continued social distancing regulations, among other restrictive guidelines, very little of the activities and amenities that have become expected of our weekend festival can occur and satisfy these requirements.

Although the event will not take place this year, and we are saddened by that, we are thankful for the area we live in. The woods and waters we are surrounded by give those of us that live here and travel to Boulder Junction many choices for entertainment this summer. Outdoor opportunities like fishing on one of the 194 lakes in the Boulder Junction area, biking along the over 50 mile fully paved Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail, a long woodland hike on one of the many Northern Highland State Forest trails, swimming and picnicking at one of the sandy beaches or star gazing and smores over a campfire.

Families are encouraged to keep their reservations and travel plans, spend time together, enjoying the fresh air and the natural beauty. Our lodging properties, restaurants, shops and other small businesses are open and working together, moving forward and ready to serve. Our community is strong and at the heart of Boulder Junction is its people. The chef who visits your table and is happy to share a cooking secret. The resort owner who remembers you (and your parents too!) from the last time you stayed here. The shopkeeper who offers you a warm greeting and a funny story from the day before. The volunteers who give their time and energy to make you feel welcome when events are taking place. Like the towering pines, fresh air and glacial lakes, these people help make this place Boulder Junction.

The Musky Jamboree is more than just an event, it is a recognition of our community’s history, a showcase of our ability to create great things in a small town when we all work together, as well as chance to let loose and celebrate a successful summer. Because of this we understand if you are disappointed with this decision, please trust in knowing we share your feelings. Because we cannot let 64 years of tradition go unrecognized, we intend to honor the mighty Musky in a different way this year. In the days leading up to and what would have been our event weekend, August 7-9, we will have some fun and interactive ways for the public to engage and celebrate virtually. We will also have a limited printing of special “2020 Musky Jamboree – The One that Got Way” t-shirts available for sale. We know that many of you have been collecting them year after year. Be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram or boulderjct.org for details.

Just like Musky fishing – if we keep the line in, have patience and stay dedicated, we will pull in the prize. Be sure to catch Boulder Junction’s Musky Jamboree in 2021 – the dates are set for Friday, August 6 through Sunday, August 8.

For more information contact the Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce at (715)385-2400 or boulderjct.org.