Monday, March 7, 2011

Project Healing Waters @ The Philadelphia / Valley Forge Fly Fishing Show

Chris, David, and I worked the PHWFF booth over the weekend in Philadelphia. What a great show. Chris drove down from Massachusetts and we drove up from D.C. We got in late due to traffic. David and I had dinner with Tom Baltz and his wife.


What a great dinner conversation. Dinner went late and we did not make it to the convention center till 10pm to set up. Our booth was located at the far end of the show. We were with other non-profits with a casting pool between us and some major rod companies (TFO, Orvis, and Rise.)

If you were following me on twitter @robsnowhite you learned early that I forgot my DSLR camera and had to use my camera phone. Please bare with me with the low quality images in this post.

David and I got back to the hotel around 11pm and met up with Chris. It was too late and we were too tired to have a beer. I caught up with Chris who I had not seen since October when he landed some monster trout on a PHWFF trip. We turned out the lights around midnight.

Early morning and a gross hotel breakfast. We got to the show around 0900 and polished up our booth. The crowds came in slowly and the casting pool with celebrity casters drew the crowds. There were benefits of that location. First was more traffic due to the celebs. Second was we got front row seats to some awesome casting lessons.

We took donations all day long for hats, pins, stickers, fly boxes, DVDs, and a bamboo rod. The first day we tallied just under $1,300 or so.

We got the word out to a lot of people who had not heard of PHWFF and got lots of offers from people either trying to donate time, flies, gear, etc. Chris was amazing in how many people he drew to the booth. It was amazing.

We watched George Daniel from the booth. This guy was from the TCO Fly Shop. I was watching him cast and was amazed at his effortless casting stroke. Turns out he was warming up to do a talk. He had a major focus on the 3 point grip on the cork. We couldn't follow the entire presentations as visitors popped in and out of the booth constantly.

Here is David getting a 2 handed casting lesson from TFO's Ed Jaworski:

Chris and I took a break from the booth and went over to Bill Skilton's tying table. Bill has been a major influence in my tying since I first met him in 2000. His synthetic materials are brilliant and will alter your perspective of foam forever. Chris was intrigued with the flies and curious about Bill's foam. Bill told as much as he could about his products but not his trade secrets.



We bumped into another Groupon merchant, Ben Turpin. He sold a bunch of guided trips in Pa.

Back to the booth and Sara Gardner is doing her talk. She is such a great person. So friendly and knowledgeable. Very approachable. We talked fly fishing, ipads, technology, the Potomac River, and more. Per the below image, don't focus on her, check out the guy on the floor. Strange.

She spoke about casting in the salt and how to deal with wind.

After lunch we took a break and walked around some more.
The Evening Hatch came through again with plenty of tying material and I loaded up on some goods for the spring and summer season.

Dalton Terrel a FFF Certified Casting Instructor throwing out some line. That floor made an optical illusion.
 Besides Skilton's flies, this is why I wanted my DSLR.
Chris picked up some jungle cock and showed it off at the booth.
 Bob Clouser did his talk at the casting pool. Don't focus on Bob, focus on the guy on the floor.


We counted up the donations at the end of the day and had a stack of cash. We were all exhausted and headed back to the hotel for a beer and then to Chilis for dinner. The thing with these fishing shows is that they are located in some sterile areas of mass sprawl. Everything is a chain. The food options if any usually stink. I look bigger than THW after 3 days of beer and chain restaurant than she does at 6 months pregnant.

Dalton and Trent from FFF/TPFR stopped by the hotel for some beers after dinner and we all had some good laughs late into the night.

Sunday:
Cold and rainy and the show is slow. Someone dropped a few dollars in our donation bucket before we got to the show. Awesome! More vendors and exhibitors than visitors.

Things pick up when the casting starts up again.
I spot Charlie Meck at the celeb tying booth. What a nice guy.He is a big supporter of PHWFF with his Patriot fly on our pins and he is featured on our booth banner.
Back to the booth to watch Sara talk again. Fewer visitors meant we could listen and watch. Lots of talk on double hall this time and nobody on the floor watching her. If you are in the Outer Banks aka OBX, you need to call her up to fish.

As the crowd dwindled Chris started to tie. He is getting into salmon patterns and after watching him buy some spey hackles I had to go out and get some too. He's a walking fly shop.
After several hours and by the end of the show we 'sold out' of mini PHWFF boxes, went through two bags of pins, a stack of stickers, and handfuls of brochures. We got almost a hundred people to donate $10 to the bamboo raffle. Time to pack up the van and head home in the cold and rain.

We have one more show next weekend and should go through the rest of the raffle tickets.
It was a great show. We met up with friends new and old, raised some money, got the word out, and had fun. Glad to be back home and waiting for the Potomac river to go down so we can start fishing for shad.


I can't neglect the dude wearing some ....o.a.r. merchandise at the show. Shout out to the big brass show:

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