The best little outdoor expo in these parts will return to Brewer this weekend, as the Penobscot Fly Fishers gear up for their annual Cabin Fever Reliever.
Mike Hegarty, who is serving as the show chairman, said club members are eager to welcome attendees to the family-friendly event.
“The big picture is [we’re] trying to promote Maine outdoors,” Hegarty said. “Part of our charter as a fishing club is to try to spread the wealth, if you will, and to try to get youngsters engaged in the Maine outdoors … instead of like at some sportsmen’s shows where you have a lot of people that are kind of selling things, here it’s more educational.”
Adults can find plenty of interesting exhibitors as well, but Hegarty said getting children interested in outdoor activities remains the focus of the show. In fact, this year there’s even more for kids to do, as an air rifle range has been added. Traditional kid-centric activities like fly tying and archery will also be represented.
Penobscot Fly Fishers members will staff the tying tables and teach kids how to tie their own fly. Even if your child has never fished in their life, they’ll have a blast learning to tie. To many first-timers, tying a fly is a simple arts-and-crafts activity, and learning the basics is surprisingly easy … especially if you’ve got an expert looking over your shoulder.
Another highlight: Boy Scout Troop 41 of Hampden will be on hand to talk about scouting; they’ll also have a fully outfitted canoe on display and will explain how they gear up for long canoe trips like their annual Allagash excursion.
The Cabin Fever Reliever is staged at the Brewer Auditorium, and runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Those who’ve attended the larger outdoor expos but never headed to Brewer for the Cabin Fever Reliever may enjoy the more relaxed pace of the show.
“It’s more homey [than large shows]. It’s more locally based,” Hegarty said. “The venue itself is smaller and more intimate. What struck me as the chairman is that unfortunately, I’ve had to turn [potential exhibitors] away because everyone wants to come to this thing.”
Another reason you might want to gather up the family and head to the show: There’s no admission charge. None.
“There’s a lot of good reasons to attend,” Hegarty said. “And did we mention it’s free?”
The PFF will have food available for sale at the show.
As has become our habit, the BDN Outdoors crew will be at the show all weekend, and we’d love to have you stop by and chat with us. Aislinn Sarnacki would be glad to talk about some of her most memorable hikes, or to listen to any hiking suggestions you might have. Me? I’ll certainly accept any hunting or fishing tips you might have, and will be actively seeking advice on training our new baby bird dog, Teddy the English cocker spaniel. You might also get to meet our editor, Sarah Walker Caron, who will stop by for a bit.
You can also pick up the spring edition of BDN Outdoors, our quarterly magazine.
And of course, we’ll be signing people up for our 13th “Win a Drift Boat Trip” contest. Each year since 2003, we’ve teamed up with Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville and have taken one lucky angler for a daylong fly fishing trip, typically on the East Outlet of the Kennebec River.
This year’s trip will be on Father’s Day, June 19. Entry into the contest is free, but there is one small catch: I’ll be along for the ride, taking a few photos and trying to catch a few fish. The bonus: After the trip, all your friends will be able to read about your fishing success in the BDN.
John Holyoke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke