Fifth Annual Optimist Fishing Festival Is Saturday

Family fun event takes place at Green Valley Park


Payson youth of all ages enjoy the annual Optimist Fishing Festival.

Payson youth of all ages enjoy the annual Optimist Fishing Festival. |

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It’s time to untangle those fishing lines, dust off the bobbers and load up on bait.

The fifth annual Optimist Club Fishing Festival is right around the corner.

The April 9 event from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. lets the masses reel, cast, dab, doodlesock and flip into Green Valley Park’s fishing hole.

And you won’t need a degree in ichthyology — the study of fish — to attend, because guides and experts on site will offer free advice on the best way to catch those lunkers.

“On this fun day you can be 102 years old and be a kid,” said Joan Young, public relations coordinator for the event.

“This event is always a great family day for all ages. Fishing clinics will be provided to help people begin and/or to improve fishing skills.”

Registration is free and starts at 8 a.m., continuing throughout the day. Those who register will not need a fishing license and don’t worry if don’t have any fishing gear, because there will be plenty of rods and reels available for loan during the day along with bait.

The Optimists Club will serve breakfast with Todd’s famous breakfast burritos featured in the morning. For lunch, the Optimists will serve up burgers, hot dogs, brats, cheese crisps, chili, drinks and more.

John Wisner will create balloon sculptures, Ann Hunter will snap photographs, Tracy and Theresa Purtee will weigh and measure fish and KCMA Radio Station will broadcast live.

Arizona Game and Fish and Trout Unlimited will offer fishing clinics.

The annual Optimist Kids Fishing Festival is a cooperative effort of the Rim Country Optimist Club, Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, Arizona Game and Fish Department and Trout Unlimited.

Now even if you don’t want to try your hand at catching trout, you can test your luck in the event’s huge raffle or silent auction.

Raffle tickets will be sold and prizes awarded throughout the day.

Among the silent auction items is an X-Box 360 with Kinect, a fishing trip with avid angler Tracy Purtee and various fishing items.

New this year is a cakewalk.

“We should have between 50 to 60 cakes for the event thanks to three big donations. Safeway and Bashas’ generously donated 10 cakes each and Hallie Overmann did the same,” Young said. “What is so interesting is that none of them knew about each other’s donation, but all knew it would help a community event and it sure will make it fun for all.”

The goal of the event is to get everyone, both young and old, interested in fishing.

All money collected through the event is funneled back into the community through the Optimist Club.

For more information, visit www.rimcountryoptimist.com or call Young at (928) 472-2264.

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