BRAINERD (WJON News) -- Thousands of people will be making their way to the Brainerd Lakes area this week for the annual Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza.

Event Chairman Tad Johnson says competitors will be arriving all week long with the competition on Saturday from noon until 3:00 p.m. He says pre-sales have been strong for this year's event and they are hoping to get back up to over 10,000 entries.

The economic impact on the region is huge.

It's the biggest hotel day of the winter, and all of the restaurants and bars have record sales days on this day.  The impact was measured a long time ago in the millions and with today's prices it's got to surpass even what that was.

Johnson says tickets will be sold all the way up to the start of the event on Saturday.

Volunteers will pre-drill 20,000 holes for the contestants to choose from.

2020 Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza
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The top prize is a pickup along with other big prizes like Ice Castle Fish Houses, ATVs, and more.

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Along with the roughly 10,000 contestants, there will be a lot of outdoor professionals again this year. Johnson says an outdoor life show from New York and National Geographic are planning to be there.

He says they typically get a lot of subcontractors who come and then sell their video footage.

We had a good feature on HBO, a mini-series feature, last year.  It's interesting, we definitely enjoy all the media that comes up. And, these days it's the influencers, guys will say they have 100,000 followers on YouTube and want a pass. We'll give them a media pass and they use their drone and have at it.

The Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza is 100 percent run by volunteers and 100 percent of the money raised goes to charity. The primary charity is Confidence Learning Center. To date, the event has raised $4 1/2 million for nonprofits.

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