I'm the new Chairman of Troutfest. In order to make this event as successful as possible we are all starting early. The dates are set. The banquet will be held at the Townsend Visitors Center on Friday evening May 15th. The Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited has decided to change the format of the festival to a Fly Fishing Exposition. Since next year is the 75th Anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park it is only fitting to make this a special event. I have asked Joe Hatton and Rufus King to be Vice-Chairmen of Troutfest. We have already assigned the job of Coordinators to several people and we will be asking others to serve. We will also need a lot of volunteers and I have been getting phone calls and e-mail from people willing to serve. Thanks to all of you.
The Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau's Herb Handly will work with us on Marketing and Festival Planning. Troutfest will be included in the SMCVB's national advertising which is vast.
We will have some special people here for your enjoyment at the banquet and during the festival. So far we have committments from Joe Humphreys and Lefty Kreh and I am working on getting Bob Clouser. I think he will be here. Our shop will pay to get Joe here and Rick Pope who is President of Temple Fork is going to bring Lefty in. Rick will be here as well. I talked to Lily Renzetti yesterday and she and her husband Andy plan to attend. We have several other special guests who we are working with.
The banquet will be expanded to handle 400 to 500 people.
There will be a fly tying tent with ongoing demonstrations by many well known fly tyers from this area and others.
Joe, Lefty and probably Bob will give demonstrations and they will participate in the fly tying tent.
Fly Fishing Manufacturers will be here to display their tackle and for you to meet.
Guide services, fly fishing related vendors, food vendors and fly shops will have booths.
The Education Tent will be back with participation from additional non-profits, conservation organizations and government agencies.
Many if not all of the sales representatives who work in this region will be here. I have committments from some of them already.
There will be a Little River Chapter store that will sell books and chapter logo merchandise. We can buy the books and send back what we don't sell. That will be a huge fund raiser since the writers will be there to sign them.
We will work closely with the National Park Service personnel to get them more involved. Troutfest is currently listed as one of the events for their 75th Anniversary Celebration.
It is going to be a great event. My goal is to start early and make it easy for the volunteers due to careful planning by our Vice-Chairmen and Coordinators.
We added this Forum to the message board so you can discuss the event and keep up to date with the progress. Also we know that our attendance will be better if we reach a lot of people and give good information.
That's all for now. I'll keep you posted and please feel free to chime in.