Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival Sets Record Attendance

January 30, 2018 By: Erin Block

The 2018 Annual Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival has reported record attendance in its 18th year. “It’s hard to believe the festival began in a single tent alongside the South River in Waynesboro,” said festival director Beau Beasley.

Read more in the press release below.

Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival Sets Record Attendance

Simon Gawesworth, Jason Randal, Beau Beasley and Landon Mayer at this year’s VFFF

Thousands of fly anglers from across the country attended the 18th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival on January 13-14, 2018. Held at Meadow Event Park just 15 miles north of Richmond on the site of the state fairgrounds, the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival has grown more popular with both new and veteran fly anglers with each passing season.

Fly fishing manufacturers, lodges, guides, tourism agencies, wineries, and specialty food companies were among the more than 100 vendors who hailed from all over the country. Brian Trow, co-owner of Mossy Creek Fly Fishing, commented, “This was our best festival ever, and that’s saying something. We do a lot of fly fishing related events, but this is one of our favorites, especially since it’s in our home state. We look forward to it each season.”

Temple Fork Outfitters founder Rick Pope echoed Trow’s sentiments: “We were tickled pink with this year’s turnout; it was great to see so many young people. I couldn’t get over how many of the attendees were actually pushing strollers. Ask yourself,” Pope continued, “the last time you went to any fly fishing event and saw dozens of strollers in use. Our company is seeking a younger demographic with customers who are eager to learn about fly fishing. Beau Beasley’s festival concept precisely lines up with our company’s priorities and ethos.”

The highlight of the 2018 event was the Festival After-Party, sponsored by Virginia microbrewery Steam Bell Beer Works and Flymen Fishing Company. The short film “Back Bay,” documenting the plight and comeback of one of Virginia’s best-known bass fisheries, premiered at the After-Party. In attendance were author and guide Cory Routh, who provided the movie’s narration, and famed popping bug designer Walt Cary, who is featured in the film and whose knowledge of Back Bay is extensive. After the film, retired Marine and Project Healing Waters program lead Chris Thompson received the “Virginia Fly Angler of the Year” award for his volunteer service and leadership.

“It’s hard to believe the festival began in a single tent alongside the South River in Waynesboro,” said festival director Beau Beasley. “It now spans more than 65,000 square feet and continues to grow. Because of our sponsorship support from the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, our beginner and women-only casting classes were packed. We also had over 30 Boy Scouts, some of whom came from as far away as New Jersey to earn their Fly Fishing Merit Badges. Our Trout Unlimited Tri-State Conservation Camp beginner fly casting classes, designed to give kids just a taste of what a weeklong camp would be like, were also at maximum capacity.”

Beasley insisted that sponsors and volunteers make the event possible. “This festival simply couldn’t happen without the diligence of our hardworking and dedicated volunteers or the generosity of our sponsors–folks at TFO, Green Top, Steam Bell Beer Works, and Harman’s Cabins, among others.

The Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival will be held January 12-13, 2019. For more information, visit www.vaflyfishingfestival.org. A sister event, the 2nd annual Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival, will take place on March 10-11, 2018, in Plano, Texas (www.txflyfishingfestival.org).