PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. – Some state residents will be celebrating the new year in a very Midwestern way — by watching a 20-pound female carp being lowered from a 110-foot crane.
"We decided we could have some sort of New Year's celebration here in the Midwest," Nelson said. "Being on the river, it had to be a fish."
They organize it every year on St. Feriole Island and expect to draw as many people this year as last year — 1,500.
The first year they used a 3-foot carp and named it Lucky after they learned the Chinese believe eating carp on New Year's brings good luck. Each subsequent fish has had the same name.
This year, Lucky is an almost 20-pound female carp caught in the Mississippi River in late November by Mike Valley, who has stored her in a freezer in his store, Valley Fish and Cheese.
Valley planned to position her fins in place so she looks mounted, and then shellac and give her a few touchups, including a crown.
"Everybody always kisses it for good luck, so I prop the lips open too," Valley said.
It takes about two-and-a-half minutes to lower the carp, Nelson said.
Those gathered will then sing "Auld Lang Syne," recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing "God Bless America."
Lucky will then return to the freezer until May, when she will be buried and a maple tree planted over her.