Fun events planned at Otter Creek

Tama County Conservation Board Member Nathan Wrage works with an apple press during the 2018 Fall Festival at the Otter Creek Nature Center. This year's festival is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10 with the annual Fun Night Fundraiser taking place the night before on Oct. 9. -- Contributed photo

Tama County Conservation will be sending Otter Creek Lake and Park off in style next weekend.

The park is scheduled to close to the public on Oct. 11 for more than a year as the county and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources work to restore the lake and surrounding park areas.

On October 10 the public is invited to attend a Fall Festival event at Otter Creek from 12 to 4 p.m.

The event is free to attend and will have entertainment for all ages including hayrack rides, carnival games, arts and crafts, a farmer’s market, food trucks and environmental educational presentations.

Sunday’s extravaganza will be the last opportunity for the public to enjoy the park until it’s scheduled reopening in 2023.

Camping at Otter Creek is open now through Oct. 4 with the grounds, trail and Nature Center remaining open through the festival on Oct. 10.

The department hopes to encourage Tama County campers to utilize TF Clark Park northeast of Traer next season when considering camping destinations.

This summer, crews have been at work draining Otter Creek Lake to prepare it for dredging and excavating work.

The lake bed needs to sit for a year to allow it to fully dry so heavy equipment can safely operate once excavation begins in 2022.

Fun Night Oct. 9

Prior to the Fall Festival celebration, Tama County Conservation will hold their annual Fun Night Fundraiser beginning at 5 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the Otter Creek Nature Center.

Cost to attend is $20 in advance ($25 at the door) for adults and $10 in advance for kids 12 and under ($15 at the door).

The Fun Night will feature a barbeque meal catered by Bobby’s BBQ and Grocery in Dysart, both live and silent auctions and a presentation by new County Conservation Director Stephen Mayne regarding the progress and outlook of the Otter Creek Lake Restoration Project.

A special gun raffle is also being organized as a fundraiser for the department.

Jax Outdoor Gear in Ames is sponsoring a raffle for a camo Ruger American Ranch Rifle.

Raffle tickets are on sale now for $10 or six for $50. Tickets can be found online at https://tama-county-conservation.square.site or can be purchased during the Fun Night on Oct. 9.

The raffle drawing will be held during the Fall Festival on Oct. 10 with the winner not required to be present.

Proceeds from all of the upcoming fundraising efforts will go toward the lake restoration project and Nature Center improvement fund.