The Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival (VFFF) is pleased to announce four new gold level sponsors of the 2016 event: The International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), Wild River Outfitters, Green Top Sporting Goods, and SweetWater Brewery.
“We will now have IFFF’s highly-qualified instructors on hand, so we can offer fly casting courses that are normally only available through the IFFF,” says festival director Beau Beasley. Attendees can take the IFFF Certified Casting Instructor Prep Course as well as a variety of fly tying classes. Examiner Development Pathway Classes–a requirement to test casting instructors for certification –will be offered at the festival hotel the day before the festival officially opens. The VFFF marks one of the few places in the country where this variety and level of IFFF classes are offered.
“We are excited to be the Education Sponsor at the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival,” says Len Zickler, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Federation of Fly Fishers. “The event’s focus dovetails nicely with our mission to educate fly anglers of all levels and help perpetuate our great sport.”
Green Top Sporting Goods of Glen Allen, Virginia, is the oldest and best known hunting and fishing retailer in the Old Dominion. Known for its knowledgeable and experienced staff, Green Top is practically a household name with traditional sportsmen but is less well known to fly anglers. “We’ve been on the hunting and fishing scene for a very long time,” says Gabe Beverly, fly fishing manager for Green Top. “What many folks don’t know is we’ve greatly increased our fly fishing offerings in the last two years. We carry multiple nationally known brands, but we also carry a large variety of local Virginia patterns, like Tommy Mattioli’s saltwater flies and Walt Cary’s unique fresh water poppers.”
Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewery, the logo of which bears a trout and the motto “Don’t Float The Mainstream,” will sell their handcrafted beer at the VFFF. SweetWater Brewery staff will also offer complimentary education classes on microbrewery beer throughout the weekend. “The Virginia Fly Fishing Festival comprises several things that SweetWater is all about: water conservation, fishing, drinking great craft beer, supporting awesome organizations like Trout Unlimited and Project Healing Waters, and having a good time while doing it all,” says Chris King, marketing manager for the Mid-Atlantic. “We’re proud to support the event, and we can’t wait to be in Doswell!”
Rounding out the new sponsors is Virginia Beach-based Wild River Outfitters. The company will have their friendly staff on site, and the public will be invited to “test-drive” their kayaks in a specialized pool constructed for this specific purpose. Stand-up paddle boards will also be onsite for customers to see and try out. “Kayaking is becoming more and more popular each year,” says Jon Bowden, Sales Manager for Wild River Outfitters. “We are serious about reaching out to the fishing community in a meaningful way. We are super stoked to provide this hands-on opportunity to the public to try out our kayaks prior to purchase. As far as we know,” says Bowden, “the VFFF is the first place in the country that has ever attempted this in the fly fishing community, and we were happy to partner with them.”
“Regrettably, says festival director Beasley, “many still see fly fishing as too elitist, too expensive, and too complicated a hobby for the average American to develop. This is doubly true for women and children. The success of the VFFF proves that if you invite folks to a comfortable festival and introduce them to the quiet sport in a friendly, unintimidating way, they will respond enthusiastically. They will be able to see themselves as fly anglers. What makes our event different is that we work hard to create fly anglers, not just attract existing ones. Of course it doesn’t hurt that we throw in free wine tastings from some of Virginia’s best wineries and now one of the hottest microbreweries in the country. That’s a hard combination to beat.”
Other festival sponsors include Temple Fork Outfitters, Orvis, Harman’s North Fork Cottages, and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Dates for the 2016 VFFF are April 9-10, 2016. For more information, visit www.vaflyfishingfestival.org.