Two Clear Lake events call it quits

Snowmobile races may return; DixieFest less likely

by Marianne Gasaway

Organizers of two longtime local events, the Jack Helgren Memorial Iowa LeMans Championships and the Lakeside DixieFest, have announced they will not hold their events in 2020.

“Several of the original organizational group have decided to ‘retire’ from the event,” a message posted on “The Jack’s” social media explained.  The event was formed as a memorial to Jack Helgren, an area businessman, avid snowmobiler, former dealer/racer and promoter of the sport in the area.  The family event included a ride around the lake, LeMans style racing, kitty kat races and a vintage show.  Proceeds went back into the community to support projects ranging from Honor Flights and Chamber of Commerce fireworks to snowmobile club activities.

“We want to thank all of you who have supported us by sponsoring, volunteering, or participating in the event over the last 10 years.  It has been a great thing to see the old fashioned racing and snowmobiling that Jack loves.  We’re so happy to see the appreciation for the vintage sleds, and racing being passed on to the younger generation that attended The Jack Race events.”

In fact, some of those who have enjoyed participating in the annual wintertime event say they hope to continue the tradition.

Several members of The Jack Race committee say they are planning to continue snowmobile racing on Clear Lake.  Members of two local snowmobile clubs, the North Iowa Snow Seekers and Hancock County Snowmobile Association, have assumed responsibility for the event, according to Mindy Eastman, treasurer for the North Iowa Snow Seekers.  A date has been tentatively set for Feb. 8, 2020.

“We haven’t decided on a new name for the race, but an announcement will be made soon,” she said.

The return of a jazz music celebration is less likely.

After 27 years, Lakeside Festivals, LTD., the producer of Clear Lake’s Annual DixieFest, made the decision to discontinue the annual jazz festival, citing in part, rising costs and an aging audience, result-

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