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May 2-5: “We’re So Fly” Fishing Festival

From Thursday, May 2nd until Sunday the 5th, make plans for the first annual “We’re so Fly” Fly-Fishing Festival celebrating the gorgeous rivers and streams in Bath County, Virginia. This 4-day festival is co-hosted by a small group of Bath County business owners and part of the event will include a silent auction to benefit Project Healing Waters, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly-fishing and associated activities including education and outings. Throughout the event, there will be guided and self-guided fishing opportunities, along with access to private stretches of Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers. There will also be fly-casting clinics, fly-tying demonstrations, guest speakers, and so much more! This event also offers activities for the non-fisher people too including stream-side yoga, an artisan market, area home tours, a local farm tour and cheese making demo, guided hikes, cooking classes, and wine tastings. Get out and enjoy gorgeous rivers, gourmet food, fun activities, all while supporting a great cause!

Each year, hundreds of folks from around the region visit Bath County to fly-fish trout, bass, bluegill, crappies, catfish, musky, etc This special event will make the fishing experience unique by making otherwise private areas of the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers available to fish. Kate Loeffler is one of the event’s organizers and she is also the owner of the Inn at Gristmill Square in Warm Springs. She tells us, “We are so happy that this festival is partnering with local landowners to open up very private stretches of river for people to fish. Areas they wouldn’t normally be able to. Of course, there are other areas that are public. And some private areas that are always an option for a fee.”

Kate tells us the inspiration for this event came when she and other Bath County business owners saw the need for more tourist related activities/things to do in their area. Kate says, “Spring is the PERFECT time to visit and the BEST time to fish (although so are other seasons), but we thought May would be a great time to throw a little festival.” She goes onto say that they are expecting about 80-100 participants. “This festival is spread out over a few days and the activities are a la carte, meaning not everyone has to do everything.”

Participants are invited to stay in and around Bath County at Kate’s Inn at Gristmill Square. She says other relaxing accommodations include The Omni Homestead, local B&Bs, Air BnBs, VRBOs, etc. Day-trippers are also welcome to attend any of the events they are interested in. Excellent dining options include The Waterwheel, Les Cochons d’Or (LCdO), Snead’s 1912 Steak, the Tavern at Warm Springs Inn, and The Omni Homestead Resort. Here is the full schedule of events!

THURSDAY, MAY 2:

  • Check-In at area lodging, 3
  • “We’re So Fly” Welcome Reception catered by The Waterwheel, LCdO, and Snead’s 1912 Steak at Dairy Barn, 6-8pm

FRIDAY, MAY 3:

  • All-Day Guided or Self-Guided Fishing on Private and Public Rivers
  • Stream-side Yoga at Inn at Gristmill Square, 9a
  • Intro to Fly-Casting Clinic by Angler’s Lane, 10:30a
  • Lunch and Learn, Farm Lunch at Fort Lewis Lodge, 1p
  • “Conquering Your Fears of Cooking Fish,” Cooking Demo at The Inn at Gristmill Square, 3p
  • Intro to Fly-Casting Clinic by Angler’s Lane, 1:30p
  • Goat Cheese Making Demo/Farm Tour at Hidden Valley B&B (6ppl max), 2:30p
  • “Tie One On” Fly Tying Demo and Cocktails at Waterwheel Restaurant, 5p
  • Dine Around – Reservations Recommended, 6p

SATURDAY, MAY 4:

  • All-Day Guided or Self-Guided Fishing on Private and Public Rivers
  • Stream-side Yoga at Inn at Gristmill Square, 9a
  • Ricotta Making and Tasting at Hidden Valley B&B (6 ppl max), 11a
  • “They’re So Fly” Artisan Market at The Inn at Warm Springs, 11a-2p
  • “Wine and Fish Pairings that Will Go Down Swimmingly” at Les Cochons d’Or, 4p
  • Dine Around – Reservations Recommended, 6p

SUNDAY, MAY 5:

  • Farewell Brunch at the Inn at Warm Springs, 11a

The Following will be available throughout the Festival:

  • Spa Services for those non-fishing at the Warm Spirit Spa (by appointment)
  • Handmade Flies from Scott Hetzer at the Inn at Gristmill Square Gift Shop
  • Trout Art and other fine Artisanal Gifts at The Warm Springs Gallery
  • Beer Tasting at Bacova Beer Company, located in downtown Hot Springs
  • Driving Tour to Coursey Springs Hatchery and Va Trout Co.

This festival presents an excellent family-friendly opportunity to engage with the local fly-fishing community, showcasing their culture, heritage, and stewardship surrounding the popular past-time. For more information, please visit the festival page on facebook @weresoflyfest or email Kate at kate@gristmillsquare.com. They are still accepting sponsors, vendors, and taking donations for the silent auction benefiting Project Healing Waters. To learn more, visit projecthealingwaters.org.

– HashtagWV #112. April 2019.

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HashtagWV Art & Entertainment is a high-quality print and digital multimedia platform for all things West Virginia and the greater Appalachian region. The editorial focus is local music, unique shopping, the arts, events, theatre, and food and drinks. tiktok.com/@hashtagwv

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