Kids Fishing Derby Saturday

Cultivating a love of fishing and for experiencing the outdoors in the young are two of the benefits for those attending the 13th annual Kids Fishing derby at Buckeye Park on Saturday.

There also are the hot dogs.

“We’ve got the best hot dogs anywhere,” Connie Grimes said Wednesday.

Grimes, who works in the maintenance department of corporate sponsor Peoples Bank, has been the principal organizer for the event for the past dozen years. She expects between 50 and 100 children and their families at the derby, depending on what the weather does.

Grimes said the derby idea began when one of her Peoples Bank co-workers said he’d like to see a fishing derby designed with city kids in mind, those who sometimes don’t get out and enjoy nature as a rule. She contacted the City of Marietta Recreation Department, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Civitan Club. The city secured a grant of $500, the ODNR wildlife division provided the fish and the Civitans provided lunch, she said.

“It’s a big day for the kids to get outside and learn how to fish, and people are there who can help the kids,” she said. “Whatever fish they catch, it gets weighed and measured. We have trophies and prizes in different age brackets. It’s just fun. They get a T-shirt, gifts at the sign up, and it’s free for them, all of it is paid for by Peoples Bank.”

The divisions are by age, from up to six years, 7-11 years and 12-16 years, each with first, second and third prizes. Registration will be held from 8 to 9 a.m. — all children need to be accompanied by an adult — the fishing will take place until 11 a.m., then lunch served by the Civitans, followed by the awards presentations.

The wildlife division people stock the lake with fish the night before, Grimes said, and will provide spare fishing poles for those who need them, along with some friendly advice about fishing techniques. Participants are encouraged to bring their own poles and chairs.

Adam Brooker brings his twin boys, Zachary and Noah, 6, every year.

“It’s one of the best things we’ve ever been involved in,” he said Wednesday. “The kids absolutely love it, we always catch fish, and the people from ODNR fish and wildlife are there to teach casting techniques.”

Brooker, who works in maintenance at the Belpre branch of Peoples Bank, plays a role in making the event happen as well.

“The bank puts the event on, and I help set it up and tear it down,” he said. “This is something my kids have always been interested in, and here at the bank we figure if one kid walks away from this liking the outdoors better than before, we’ve done our job.”

There’s more to come out in nature this summer. Grimes said the Civitan Club will hold a youth outdoors day Aug. 11, she said, that will include fishing, archery and BB gun target shooting.

“It’s a spinoff event from the fishing derby,” she said. “It’s worth it, getting the kids out and away from those computers and games and stuff.”

If you go

¯ What:13th annual Kids Fishing Derby.

¯ Where: Buckeye Park, Marietta.

¯ When: Saturday, 8 a.m. registration, fishing from 9 to 11 a.m., lunch followed by awards.

¯ Cost: Free.