Battenkill Fly Fishing Festival looks to 2023 after successful launch | Local News

ARLINGTON — There was one thing Bill Bullock wanted to see at the Battenkill Fly Fishing Festival to convince him that the gathering had truly reached its potential in its first year.

“Our whole measure of success was seeing anglers in waders at the beer tent,” Bullock said on Friday. “And we did.”

The first-ever festival, held April 29-May 1, drew more than 300 people from as far away as Toronto and Asheville, North Carolina, and raised more than $12,000 for Arlington Common , organizers said. Plans are already underway to bring the event back next spring.

“It was a really, really fun event. We pulled a bunny out of a hat and tapped into something that we knew was there,” said Bullock, the Arlington Common Treasurer. didn’t hurt that it was 60 degrees and beautiful.”

The presentations, seminars and guided instruction sessions were well attended, Bullock said. Saturday’s presentation by Orvis fly fishing mentor and author Tom Rosenbauer drew more than 175 attendees, and casting instruction sessions by Orvis fly fishing instructor Peter Kutzer , at Arlington Recreation Park were also a big draw.

The festival, which included workshops, talks, a film festival, art exhibit, food, craft beer and live music, also raised funds through auctions for the Murray culvert replacement Hollow, a habitat project supported by Trout Unlimited. A silent auction raised over $8,000.

Bullock and city administrator Nick Zaiac said local support was key to the event’s success.

“A lot of Arlingtonians came out and volunteered,” Bullock said. “It was a combination of Arlington and local support, and you know Vermont — everyone from far and wide was so thrilled with the authenticity and sincerity and friendliness of the vibe.”

“I was happy to see many volunteers who came from many of our community institutions,” said Zaiac. “I was very happy to see groups come out and organize their own fundraisers that they would never have done otherwise. »

He was also happy to see the amusement park busy on both days. “To see an event that is not a sports game draw so many people to the park is awesome,” he said.

Together with event partners at the Arlington Inn and the three bands that performed, the festival sold over 600 pints of beer and cider and over 200 meals. Nonprofit partners including the Lions Club, Federated Church of East Arlington and St. James’s Episcopal Church also sold food, as did event partners Bonnie & Clyde’s and The Wayside. Store.

The art exhibit, “Back to the River, Scenes from an Angler’s Paradise,” will be on view through June 12. Artists donate 25% of their sales to the Common and have earned $2,000 from sales over the weekend of the event.

About Patricia Kilgore

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