These words are not a promo or objective report for the 14th annual Virginia Fly-Fishing and Wine Fest (April 12/13), billed as the largest outdoor event of its kind. It’s simply a reflection of my wanderings through the first day of this two-day affair.
Generally speaking, I am not one to travel any distance to a fly-fishing show, but this extravaganza in Waynesboro happened to be in the neighborhood of my wanderings so I checked it out. Although one might consider the $20 entry fee and various prices a little steep, the whole experience of visiting the southern festival is a pleasant affair with potential for some real education.
The Waynesboro setting suffers a bit from Dupont-Investa factory pollution, but the otherwise lovely mountains of Virginia make it a grand walk through a park-like atmosphere. And through it all flows the South River, a tributary of the South Fork Shenandoah.
I didn’t yet mention the wine-tasting (free with entry) and micro-breweries, but suffice it to say that sampling the products of half-a-dozen local wineries helps to put a smile on your face and to interact with the hundreds of vendors and fly-fishing personalities under the big tent and among the smaller set-ups near the river bank.
Among the festival speakers, whose names I already recognized, were Beau Beasley, Ed Jaworowski, Lefty Kreh, Tom Sadler, Tracy Stroup, Fishy Fullum, and Matt Supinski. There were numerous others representing the fly-fishing trade in its various aspects. Subjects covered were Fly-Fishing for Beginners, Fishing Tennessee’s South Holston River, Beginner Fly-Tying, Professional Casting, Women’s Group Casting, Tenkara, Kayak, Spey, and a whole lot more…
It was fun wandering around with my wife and son, getting a wine buzz with a soothing April sun on my back, conversing with tyers, suppliers, and guides, not buying much of anything, and just relaxing.