Kalkaska – A Michigan man who was the original artist of Kalkaska’s classic “trout fountain” was honored with a memorial plaque at the opening ceremony of the 83rd National Trout Festival.

Fred Perrin created the initial sketch for the Kalkaska Trout Memorial along U.S. 131 in the village’s downtown area.

The 74-year-old’s contribution was honored in a dedication at Kalkaska’s long-running trout festival last month, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported .

The memorial showcases a huge trout jumping out of the water in tribute of the festival. It’s extensively photographed and has been viewed in books and internet posts around the world.

Perrin, who drew the idea for the trout memorial when he was a high school senior, was left off the plaque acknowledging its designers when the memorial was established in 1966.

“Everybody is listed on there except Fred,” said Debbie Ball-Odeh, interim secretary of the National Trout Festival.

Perrin’s son, Aaron Perrin, brought the omission to the festival board’s attention in 2018. The board subsequently took action.

“He came to a meeting and it was immediately like, OK, we need to get this rectified,” Ball-Odeh said.

Aaron first went to the Kalkaska Historical Society and Museum to look for information about the memorial. He was later put in contact with Sharon Peck Cross, who went to school with his father. Cross connected Aaron with the trout festival board and then joined him at a meeting to make a presentation.

“She knew about everything he had done and that he had been left off the plaque. It was something that always bothered her,” Aaron said.

Though Perrin now has a personal plaque close to the trout memorial, he notes that he never needed one. But Aaron added that his daughter will be able to show her grandfather’s name to her future family.

“I kind of felt that he was getting (written) out of history and I didn’t want that to happen,” Aaron said. “I just want my dad to have some credit, a little bit of history he deserves.”

Diana Needhum, president of the National Trout Festival, said honoring Perrin won’t take anything away from anyone else.

“We’re just making sure Fred gets his due attention,” Needhum said.


Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle,

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