Optimists’ Fishing Festival Is All Fun

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Zach Ulmer (holding rainbow trout) and his brother, Jeremy, admire the size of the fish they just caught during the Optimist Kids Fishing Festival conducted at Green Valley Park.

Spring fever is running rampant. It’s time to get out of the house and out into the fresh air after a long, cold, wet winter. The Fourth Annual Optimist Kids Fishing Festival is just the right tonic for that fever — and it’s for everyone, not just the kids.

The fishing festival is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, March 27 at Green Valley Park.

Registration is free and starts at 8 a.m. and continues throughout the day. Those who register to participate in the festival don’t need a license to fish the Green Valley Lakes that day.

No fishing gear? No problem — there will be plenty of gear available for loan during the day. No bait? No problem — extra bait will also be available. The first 300 kids registering for the event will get a free hat.

Fish will be weighed and measured for anyone who wishes and there will be a “Bragging Board” where the names and catches will be listed throughout the day and KCMA will be broadcasting from the event live.

There will also be food available for purchase from the Optimists including breakfast burritos starting at 7 a.m., plus hot dogs, hamburgers, soda and more.

The Fourth Annual Optimist Kids Fishing Festival is a cooperative effort of the Rim Country Optimist Club, Payson Parks and Recreation Department, Arizona Game and Fish Department, John Wisner (balloon sculptures), Bethany Beck (photos), KCMA Radio Station, Summit Silkscreen and Embroidery and Trout Unlimited.

Even if you don’t fish, you will want to take a chance or place a bid. There will be a huge raffle and silent auction during the day to help cover costs. Raffle tickets will be sold and prizes awarded throughout the day. The drawing for the major prizes will between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Silent auction bids will be finalized at 2 p.m.

Among the silent auction items donated so far: artwork; purses; lots of baskets featuring the themes of fishing, Americana, pink comfort, Christmas, dog lover’s, yellow comfort, discovery, early learner, Halloween, kitchen and gourmet appetizers.

Raffle items include a $550 pontoon boat and a $249 Caddis Navigator 6-Float Tube, fishing poles with rods and reels, and much more.

Anyone wishing to donate goods and services to be included in the raffle and silent auction may do so up until the morning of the event. To make a donation, call Corey Kroll, (928) 474-9686 or Joan Young, (928) 472-2264.

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