By MIKE KESSELRING
To use an old, but applicable cliche, “The moment we’ve all been waiting for….” is finally here. To put it more accurately, it’s just around the proverbial corner.
The public is invited to the grand opening of the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians set for Saturday, June 6. The celebration will start at 10am and wrap up at 4pm. Located at 316 Tsali Blvd., it sits between the Cherokee Historical Association headquarters and the Cherokee Visitor Centers.
A full day’s slate of events will begin at 10am with a gathering of Museum friends, supporters, sponsors, volunteers, staff and board members. Alen Baker and Forrest Parker, the Museum’s founders, will address the audience with a brief history of how this brainchild came about. Representatives from the surrounding communities and several fly fishing organizations will also be on hand to offer their thoughts in support of the museum. Have your camera ready for the ceremonial ribbon cutting following all the speeches.
Following the ceremonies, lunch will be available with food and drinks starting at noon.
But, that’s not the end of the celebration. Starting at 1pm and running until 4pm, a free casting clinic is being offered to the public. A pool of five professional fly fishing guides and instructors have volunteered their time. They will be on hand to help grand opening attendees improve their casting skills. One on one, hands on coaching and group instruction will be the highlight of the clinic.
The pool of guides are masters at their craft. Some have written books and produced videos. Some have competed internationally and have lead champion teams and some have guided around the world in some very exotic waters. All of them have a range of knowledge and experience too vast to include here and each would need an article all their own to give them justice. Be assured, they are some of the best. Participants will learn something about casting or improve their skills whether they are a beginner or someone who thinks they already know it all.
The list of volunteer casting instructors are:
- Mac Brown, Bryson City, McLeods Highland Fly Fishing
- Eugene Shuler, Cherokee, Flyfishing the Smokies
- Paul Bourcq, Franklin, In The Loop Fly Fishing
- David Wells, Maggie Valley, Pigeon River Guiding
- J.E.B. Hall, Brevard, Davidson River Guiding
In addition to the casting clinic, members of Casting for Hope, a women’s recovery organization for survivors of ovarian cancer based in Asheville, will be registering participants for it’s fund-raising tournament being held in Cherokee the following day on Sunday, June 7.
If anyone is interested in participating in the Museum’s casting clinic, bring your own fly rod and wading gear just in case you end up in the river.
RSVP: Museum Program Director Mike Kesselring 736-6929 or email@example.com