A popular ice fishing event this weekend in southwest Iowa is being called off. Shannon Meister is an organizer of the now-canceled Winterfest Ice Fishing Derby at Lake Manawa State Park in Council Bluffs. She says officials have inspected the ice and say it’s not safe.

Meister says you can find some areas where the ice is seven or eight inches thick but in other areas it’s only a few inches thick with a lot of slush between the layers. She says last year’s event was also canceled as there was a foot of ice in December but it was virtually all gone due to the warmth in January. Meister says it’s been a popular event.

It draws 600 to 12-hundred people every year and may see a drop in participants next year because they’ve canceled two in a row now. She says the event has been canceled five times in nine years due a lack of ice. Meister says those who registered for the event this year will automatically be registered for 2008 and will not have to pay an entry fee.