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Orvis’ Fly-Fishing and Outdoor Festival & Conference Coming to Roanoke

Orvis is bringing its national fly-fishing and outdoor festival to Roanoke in March.

Down the Hatch is on March 21 at Elmwood Park and will include food and beer, live music, a series of short films, outdoor and fly-fishing vendor exhibits, educational demos and classes, and the Orvis Guide Olympics.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Roanoke Outside Foundation and the Trout Unlimited Roanoke Chapter.

“Events like this help connect the business community to the outdoor assets the region has to offer,” said Pete Eshelman, director of Roanoke Outside Foundation. “Orvis has been a strong supporter of the outdoor community in the Roanoke Region and we are excited to partner with them on this national event.”

Professionals from all over the country will be on hand for the Down the Hatch and show off their skills during the festival as part of the Orvis Guide Olympics. Guides will compete in a series of challenges including raft pulling, throw-bag tossing, and casting.

Gates for Down the Hatch will open at 2 p.m. with live music from 2:30-6:30 p.m. The Guide Olympics will start 3:30 p.m., with the outdoor films to follow at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

“We welcome families, canines and outdoor enthusiasts to celebrate the spirit of adventure with us and look forward to giving back by donating the event proceeds to improve the natural beauty through conservation in the region,” said Mike Rigney, Vice President of Operations for Orvis.

Down the Hatch caps off the Orvis Guide Rendezvous, a conference prior to the festival for owners and operators of fly-fishing and wing shooting services and destinations. This is the first year the conference – which has been held in locations such as Missoula, Montana, and Asheville, North Carolina – has come to Roanoke.

The Guide Rendezvous is March 18-20 at Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center.

The move is due in part to the connection between Orvis – with a retail location, outlet, and distribution facilities in Roanoke – and the region. Orvis has operated here since 1980.

“We are excited to bring the guide rendezvous and Down the Hatch festival to Roanoke,” Rigney said. “It really is our second home as we’ve had our east coast distribution center here for nearly 40 years.”

Down the Hatch was created by Orvis, and their national retailers and guides, as an annual celebration of adventure and wonders in the natural world.

More than $3,000 in prizes will be raffled off during Down the Hatch, including items from Yakima, Smith, Global Rescue, Costs Del Mar, Adipose Boatworks, Outcast, Sight Line

Provisions and more. Raffle tickets will be on sale at Down the Hatch, at the Orvis store in downtown Roanoke in March, on March 17 at Deschutes Brewery Tasting Room, and through the Trout Unlimited Roanoke Chapter.

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