Arlington – There was one thing Bill Bullock wanted to see at the Battenkill Fly Fishing Festival to convince him that this rally had truly fulfilled its potential in its first year.
“Our complete measure of success has been to see the fishermen wading into the beer tent,” Bullock said Friday. “And we did.”
Organizers said the first-ever festival, which took place from April 29 to May 1, attracted more than 300 people from as far away as Toronto and Asheville, North Carolina, and raised more than $12,000 for Arlington Common. Plans are already underway to bring the event back next spring.
“It was a really fun event. We pulled a rabbit out of the hat and grabbed something we knew was in there,” said Bullock, Arlington Common treasurer. “It didn’t hurt that the temperature was 60 degrees and cool.”
Bullock said the presentations, seminars, and mentorship sessions were well attended. Saturday’s presentation by Orvis Fly fly fishing instructor and author Tom Rosenbauer drew more than 175 participants, and Orvis fly fly fishing education sessions, Peter Kutzer, at Arlington Recreation Park were also a big draw.
The festival, which included workshops, talks, a film festival, art show, food, craft beer and live music, also raised funds by auction to replace Murray Hollow Stream, a home project supported by Trout Unlimited. The silent auction raised more than $8000.
Nick Ziak, Bullock City and Township Manager, said local support was a key factor in the event’s success.
“A lot of Arlingtons came out and were volunteers,” Bullock said. “It was a combination of Arlington and local support, you know Vermont – all the people from outside were so happy with how honest, loyal and wonderful the atmosphere was.”
“I was happy to see so many volunteers who came from many of our community organizations,” Ziak said. “It was such a pleasure to see groups go out and do their own fundraising that they would never have done.”
Was also happy to see Rec Park busy on both days. “Seeing an event that is not a sports game that attracts so many people to the park is great,” he said.
With event partners at the Arlington Inn and three bands performing, the festival sold over 600 pints of beer and cider and more than 200 meals. It had nonprofit partners, including the Lions Club, East Arlington Federated Church, St.
The art exhibition, “Back to the River, Scenes from Angels’ Paradise” will run until June 12. Artists donate 25 percent of their sales to The Common and made $2,000 in sales over the weekend.