Crystal Falls holds first-ever Buckfest to celebrate deer season

Hunters from in and out of the U.P. pay a visit to the area and turn in their bucks for a chance to win prizes
This is a recording of TV6 First Look.
Published: Nov. 20, 2021 at 10:08 PM EST
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CRYSTAL FALLS, Mich. (WLUC) - Dylan West is a 15 year old who has been hunting for at least ten years. When he heard the first-ever Buckfest was happening in his home town of Crystal Falls, he knew he had to bring his 140-pound buck.

“I heard about it about a day or two ago,” West said. “I figured I’d come down and throw mine in there.”

On Saturday evening, at least two dozen hunters and attendees gathered for the town’s first buck competition since 2003. The event was put on by the Crystal Falls Business Association. One member, Gerard Valesano, says the idea was to get hunters from all around to pay a visit to the area.

“Late into the fall, we don’t really have anything until Christmas,” Valesano explained. “We were thinking from a summer festival to having something in the fall before Christmas comes along.”

There were junior, adult, and senior divisions. Two winners from each division were chosen based on the buck’s weight and the antler spread/points. Prize and 50/50 raffle proceeds go to the annual Crystal Christmas Fireworks.

Valesano says the event is all about celebration.

“{Deer season is} almost like a holiday, to be honest with you, in Michigan,” he stated. “It’s just another time of year for that gathering of people to come to town, spend some money in the town, and have some good memories & stories to tell.”

Many also gathered around a fire and enjoyed a harvest moon. West says he is looking forward to the rest of the season.

“It’s nice that people come and donate prizes and let the communities get involved with this,” he said. “I hope {the rest of the season} goes well. I hope my dad gets {a buck},”

Organizers would like to see Buckfest become an annual event, hoping hunters from across the region and their bucks stop here.

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