By Walter Hojka
A rainy drizzle hung over most of Trout Fest last weekend, but it did not dampen the spirits of the organizers or the attendees. Activities continued with all stage events being moved inside the craft building, where attendees enjoyed local entertainment.
Some events had to be postponed but attendance was up, according to Ciara Lambert, executive director of the Pendleton County Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the event. Craft sales also went well, according to vendors.
Rain and hazardous river conditions caused two events to be postponed. The car show has been postponed to a yet undetermined date. The trout derby, which could not be held on Saturday, will now last until May 21.
During this time period, registered trout derby participants may catch tagged fish and receive prizes. One hundred tagged fish have been released into the South Branch of the Potomac River in Franklin. Prizes for tags range from $5 to $50 with the exception being one grand prize worth $1000. Registrants can redeem tags at the Pendleton County Chamber of Commerce until May 21.
The craft fair featured over a dozen vendors. Venders sold baskets, jewelry, rare gemstones, mugs, t-shirts, cider, and other items. Felicia Cook, owner of Mouth of Seneca Pottery, said that the event was a big success for her business. Ashleigh Smithson, who makes handmade baskets, sold all her gathering baskets at the festival.
Food vendors were located nearby and offered a wide variety of food options. Selections included gumbo, funnel cakes, cotton candy and kettle corn. The Pendleton County High School football team sold chicken halves until they sold out, and the Pendleton County Middle School softball and baseball teams, in conjunction with Dean’s Gap Farm, sold BBQ sandwiches. Helan Turner, who sold BBQ sandwiches, said sales were good, and people came out despite the weather.
Turn out for the 5K run also exceeded the organizers’ expectations. The cold misty weather did not deter 27 participants from gathering at Thorn Spring Park Sunday morning to run the course along Thorn Creek Road.
Lambert said that turnout was very strong, “definitely up from 2019.” Lambert also said that the craft show did well with some vendors selling out and others saying they sold two or three times as much as 2019. Lambert added that even though the trout rodeo was postponed, people were still there to sign up.
“Rain did not deter them,” she said.