Troutfest is a fundraiser and fly fishing exposition conceived by the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The intent and goal of Troutfest is to raise money to support fisheries programs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This will be the 5th event and it will be held May 15th, 16th & 17th, 2009. Troutfest has raised $60,000 in the past four years for brook trout restoration in the Park. Troutfest will be held at the Townsend Visitors Center. You can get more information by visiting our website, www.troutfest.org.
Troutfest planning is moving along well. We have an Executive Committee that meets every month. We started planning in July of 2008 for the May 2009 event. Several committees have been formed and everyone is on track to make Troutfest the largest ever.
Banquet and Auction tickets are available at Little River Outfitters. You can call toll free 877-448-3474. They are $50 each. Within a week your tickets will be mailed to you or you can pick them up at the shop. You may also buy them online. This link will take you to the Little River Outfitters online catalog. We are using this catalog because your credit card information is safe on the secure server. Your information is encrypted. If you buy tickets online you may only use Mastercard or Visa. You will have other options at checkout but they won’t work. The reason for this is we will process your order through the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited’s account. The Chapter is not set up to accept other forms of payment. We are only going to sell 400 tickets. Many have been purchased early.
We will have three famous fly fisherman headliners at Troutfest. They are Lefty Kreh, Joe Humphreys and Bob Clouser. These guys will attend the banquet and be at the Fly Fishing Exposition performing and giving seminars throughout the weekend.
There will be a fly tying tent. Over 10 fly tyers will be demonstrating at one time. To date we have 41 fly tyers signed up to demonstrate. As is this a fundraiser for the Smokies we will charge $10 for a weekend pass to the Fly Tyers Tent.
Sponsorship is essential to the success of this event. Sponsors donate cash to be used to pay for overhead such as tents. Also sponsors are paying the costs to have Lefty Kreh, Joe Humpreys and Bob Clouser here. We are working on a sponsor drive now.
The marketing committee will become more active in February. We have identified over 130 fly shops and sporting goods stores in a 7 state area. We will mail out a small poster and some business cards to drive people to the Troutfest.org website. As an example of the depth of this effort we had 23,000 full color business cards printed. The website is getting a lot of activity. Many visitors are linked there from the Little River Outfitters website.
We already have over 70 volunteers. A few more will be needed. But overall we are very happy with the response from people who are willing to help.
This year is the 75th Anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Troutfest is a sanctioned event by the Park. We have available some new Troutfest T-Shirts that are specifically designed and printed with the anniversary in mind. They will be made available to you online within a week or so.
So, overall the planning of Troutfest at this point is probably considered by most of us as “running smooth”.
If you plan to attend it would be advisable to buy your banquet tickets early and book your reservations at one of our many lodges, cabin rental, motels and campgrounds. On the Troutfest Website there is a complete list of our accommodations and links to their websites.
We hope to see you here in May.
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