“The Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival is pleased to announce a major expansion of the 2015 festival to include its inaugural Family Fly Fishing Classes (3FC),” said Beau Beasley, Director of Programs and Sponsorship Development. “For years I’ve heard folks in the industry talk about the need to grow the sport of fly fishing and especially a need to reach out to children. But I’ve seen little meaningful action. Our plan is to teach fly fishing classes geared to all ages—both children and parents. This way the family learns about fly fishing together. My fondest childhood memories are of fishing with my father; I suspect the same is true for a lot of us in the industry. The thing is that these days, many parents don’t know how to fish. As a result, they simply cannot pass that love of the outdoors on to their own children. We can give parents the tools they need to be successful on the stream—and they can learn to fish right alongside their own kids. And kids who learn to fish with their parents are more likely to keep fishing.”
The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) will partner with the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival to develop and support the all-new 2015 Family Fly Fishing Classes. “We are thrilled to promote fly fishing and encourage participation among families,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “The Virginia festival is a great opportunity to promote the activity, bring families together, and attract newcomers to fishing—a key source for wildlife conservation efforts.”
At the festival, students of all ages can cast fly rods with individualized instruction. Classes will cover topics like handling fish safely, entomology, catch-and-release fishing, angler etiquette, and the basics of conservation. Families will even get to give fly tying a whirl! Minority families are especially encouraged to check out the program, and the festival is working with the Waynesboro YMCA to facilitate the inclusion of local youth.
Another component of the 3FC program is a special class developed through a partnership with the Boy Scouts of America: Uniformed Scouts will be able to fulfill the requirements to earn their Fly Fishing Merit Badge right at the festival at no additional cost to the Scout. In addition, the festival will offer a special Children’s Catch-and-Release Trout Pool stocked with fish provided by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland fisheries. Children can release their trout unharmed directly into the South River, which flows adjacent to the festival grounds. All 3FC classes and materials will be provided free of charge.
“We so appreciate the support and leadership of the RBFF as the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival launches this new and exciting family outreach program,” said Beasley, “and together we look forward in 2015 to debuting the best children’s fly fishing program in the country.”
Now in its 15th season, the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival draws thousands of attendees from as far away as New York and Georgia. The festival, held outside along the banks of the South River in Waynesboro under a series of large tents, has historically enjoyed strong sponsor support from such companies as Orvis, Temple Fork Outfitters, and Dominion Power. New sponsors this year include the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Bethany Christian Services and Trout Unlimited. Multiple wineries participate in the festival as well, and wine tastings are free to those over 21.
The Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival will be held April 11-12, 2015. For more information, please visit www.vaflyfishingfestival.org.