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Wednesday, 20 June 2007 00:00

How ‘bout the trout?

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By Michael Beadle

Fishing for something fun to do this weekend? Head downstream to the Maggie Valley Fairgrounds for the 18th Annual Smoky Mountain Trout Festival on Saturday, June 23.

The all-day affair, which runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., includes an interactive educational tent with a mobile aquarium from the Wildlife Resources Commission and booths with representatives from the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, Friends of the Smokies and the American Bear Association. There’s a trout race with $1,500 in prizes, a kids’ fly-fishing clinic, fresh local trout dinners, arts and crafts, and plenty of beverages. Enjoy live music from new-grass wonder Rafe Hollister, solo singer Ginny McAshee and the South Carolina sensation Blazing Bluegrass.

This year’s festival emcee is WLOS-TV’s Bob Caldwell, best known as News 13’s morning anchor and weatherman. An avid outdoorsman, Caldwell also produces the weekly “Outdoors with Bob Caldwell” featuring his hiking, fishing and camping expeditions. Also on hand will be State Senator Joe Sam Queen, who will bring a special announcement for the Town of Maggie Valley.

“We’ve really expanded the festival this year to provide something for everyone,” said Ashley Mullis, the festival’s event coordinator. “And with the addition of our new permanent stage, we are now able to provide non-stop entertainment throughout the day.”

The annual Trout Festival began in Waynesville and later moved to Maggie Valley. After reshuffling its sponsors, festival organizers from the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce decided to scale down the two-day event to a single day in order to focus more on the educational and environmental programs while maintaining the family atmosphere that has made the event so successful.

“The support from the community to revive the festival has been overwhelming,” Mullis said. “We have more community and corporate sponsors than ever, and are expecting a huge turn-out this year.”

Add to that the recent boost in local tourism from the newly reopened Ghost Town in Maggie Valley, and this festival is expected to be a hot ticket.

The festival is supported and organized by the Maggie Valley Chamber, the Town of Maggie Valley, the Haywood Tourism Development Authority and other sponsors.

One attractive element to the festival is that almost everything for the kids is free.

“We want people to come out and just have fun — and when Mom and Dad can just let the kids wear themselves out with free inflatables and activities, then we know everyone is happy,” Mullis said.

The festival will also include clogging, face painting, fire trucks, and food and beer.

“So many people come just for the fresh, local fried trout dinners,” Mullis said. “But we’ll also have everything from BBQ to funnel cakes, and some really unique festival fare too, like fried Moonpies and Indian flat bread.”

Adult admission to the festival is $2. Children ages 12 and under get in free. To pre-register for the kids’ fishing clinic, call the Natural Resources Division at Haywood Community College at 828.627.4564. Proceeds from the event will benefit Haywood Waterways and Kids in the Creek. For more information about the Smoky Mountain Trout Festival or upcoming events in the Maggie Valley area, visit www.maggievalley.org or call 828-926-1686.


8th Annual Great Smoky Mountain Trout Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 23

Where: Maggie Valley Festival Grounds on U.S. 19

Cost: $2 for adults; children 12 and under free

For More Info: www.maggievalley.org or 828.926.1686

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