For years its been called “the largest event of the year in Grey-Bruce.” This year thanks to the Covid Pandemic, the 33rd annual OWEN SOUND SALMON SPECTACULAR Festival will be smaller. The big Fishing Festival was shelved for 2020 but its back alive and well in 2021, with prizes worth $150,000 including boats for each of the four main fish categories.
The tent which acts as the headquarters for the ten day event will be half its usual size. To ensure public safety there will be no entertainment, no bingo, no concerts. Curb side pickup will replace long lineups during the derby’s big fish fries. The food booth will be smaller this year and no morning breakfasts served. Strict distancing and masking precautions will be enforced.
In 2019, the last time this derby was staged, 4,200 anglers from across Ontario and from several US states took part.
Salmon Spectacular derby Co-Chair Chris Geberdt says after the Covid lockdowns, people are really anxious to get outdoors, so he suggests this year, participation in the derby will increase and could be well over 42-hundred. Geberdt says he expects salmon in the 25 pound range will win this years top prize. This derby supports conservation efforts by the Sydenham Sportsmen’s club volunteers including its successful fish hatchery and stocking program.
Only 300 people will be allowed in the tent at one time. There will be no awards ceremony. Winners will be given information on where and when they can pick up derby and draw prizes. Security guards will enforce public health protocols such as sign-in sheets, mask wearing and physical distancing.
For the tent raising Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association (BPSA) members and others interested in helping, should show up at 8:00 a.m. on August 25th. Please contact Jerry Beaver at 519-534-5725 to get your name on the tent raising/teardown list. For many years BPSA members have helped save the Sydenham Sportsmen’s Association thousands of dollars in fees by raising and tearing down the derby tent at the Georgian Shores Marina on the Owen Sound waterfront.