The Jimmy Green Memorial Fly Fishing Fair and Casting Expo is a lot like Woodstock was.
• One was a festival held at a dairy farm near White Lake in upstate New York. The other is held at Lake Tye in Monroe, Washington where there used to be many dairy farms.
• Woodstock was billed as an “Aquarian” exposition. Aquarius is the Zodiac sign of the “water bearer” which has something to do with water. The Jimmy Green is billed as a fly fishing exposition, which has something to do with water.
• Northwest legend Jimi Hendrix rocked the Woodstock event. The Northwest event named for the legendary Jimmy Green rocks.
• The 60’s were a turbulent decade filled with war, social unrest, and a sense that the world was spinning out of control. One could easily say the same thing about current times. Music and fly fishing are both be a nice escape from the real world.
• Woodstock was a free concert that brought folks together for 3 days of peace and music. The Jimmy Green is a free expo that brings folks together for a piece of fly fishing.
• It rained off and on at Woodstock, and people got wet. Surprisingly, it did not rain on the Jimmy Green event this year, though it threatened. The only people who got wet were the ones standing in the lake.
• 32 acts took the stage at Woodstock in 1969. There were over 32 exhibitors and presenters at the Jimmy Green in 2010.
• There was a “freak out tent” at Woodstock for attendees who were suffering from a bad trip. There were booths at Jimmy Green where attendees could talk to guides about booking a freakin’ awesome trip.
• I wasn’t at the Woodstock festival in 1969 (I was only 6 years old), and I wasn’t at the first annual Jimmy Green event in 2009 (I was 46 years old).
I can’t change history and attend Woodstock, but I was determined not to let history repeat itself by missing the Jimmy Green event this year.
I made good on that promise to myself, and I had a great time. There were casting competitions, demonstrations and seminars, and loads of great folks assembled from the Pacific Northwest fly fishing industry. Exhibitors came from near and far to show their passion for the sport with those who attended as visitors. The list of booths was impressive and spanned the full gamut from conservation and education groups, to guides, fly shops and rod and tackle manufacturer reps. There was even a booth promoting a series of kid’s fly fishing books featuring Olive the Woolly Bugger– oh wait, that was me. Heh heh. I met a lot of nice folks who stopped by my booth to chat about fishing, learn a little bit about my books and enter a free raffle. Three lucky winners were drawn and received signed editions of Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, and 4 others received Olive fishing hats (I hope the hats prove lucky). One dad visited my booth with his two young boys. They’d already become familiar with the books so they just stopped by for a photo op with the big shot author. Probably best that the kids don’t know that I’m really just an unaccomplished angler.
Being an exhibitor I didn’t get much opportunity to walk around and shake hands with many of the other folks. Luckily I did have a chance to kick tires with a few new and old friends including Leland Miyawaki from the Bellevue Orvis shop, Derek Young from Emerging Rivers Guide Services, Ron and Kristin Torda from All About the Fly, Brian Paige from Steelhead Fly Anglers, Ted Truglio and Jason Boitano from Troutwater Guide Services, Ryan Smith from Arch Anglers, Dylan Rose of Skate the Fly, Mia Shepperd from Little Creek Outfitters, Dick Sagara from TFO Rods. Nathan Keen from the Avid Angler did a great job on the megaphone and making sure things ran smoothly. Camp Chef extraordinaire, Project Healing Waters champion and all around great guy Jerry Daschofsky made sure everyone was well fed. The folks from the Washington council of the Federation of Fly Fishers were excellent neighbors for the day. I also got to meet some great folks who were there as attendees. Some of those folks I’d “known” in an internet sort of way and finally was able to put a face to the screen name: I wasn’t disappointed, though I can’t speak for them. There were more people I didn’t get to meet than those I did.
Another drawback to being tethered to my booth was that I didn’t get to listen, watch and learn from the pros like Mike Kinney who put on casting clinics. Other on-the-water demos included Anil Srivastava, Michael Bennet, Dave McCoy, Al Buhr, George Cook, Leland Miyawaki, Ryan Smith, Jerry French and Dan McCrimmon.
Nor was I able to participate in the casting competitions, luckily. Watching the big boys busting out 140+ foot casts in the Spey casting competition was humbling. I’m pretty sure I could hit 40 feet on a good day.
The one final downside to being an exhibitor was not being able to capture the event with photos. Thankfully a lot of great photos were taken by others- here are a few:
After they had all gone home from Woodstock, those who attended discovered that they had made history and would never be the same. Similarly “Nobody goes home a beginner from Jimmy Green.”
Sorry if you missed out on Woodstock. If you haven’t been to the Jimmy Green Expo, you’re missing out.
Thanks to all who put the event together and to all who came out for the day. See you next year.