You get a line, I'll get a pole

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Overalls and cob pipes mixed with fishing poles and slimy worms Saturday at Craig's Huck Finn Day at Loudy-Simpson Park.

For more than a half-century, families have attended the Craig tradition that pays tribute to Huckleberry Finn, the carefree character in Mark Twain's landmark novel.

Nadine Scranton said her four boys were leery Saturday morning when she announced the attire for the day: straw hats, rolled up jeans and ratty T-shirts. Children are encouraged to dress for the annual day of fishing in costumes reminiscent of the easygoing Huck Finn or fellow character Becky Thatcher.

"At first they thought I was dressing them pretty shabbily," Scranton said.

Six-year-old Jordan Kainz was excited to show off a wriggling prize that he kept folded in a towel on the ground.

"Look, it's a blue gill fish," he said, pointing to its markings.

Shylar Hadley, 12, fished from the banks in her second-place winning outfit; a flowing shirt and peasant blouse with braids in her hair.

"It's fun to get to fish," Hadley said. "I've been here so many times, I can't even count."

While Hadley, had pulled an 11.5-inch rainbow trout from the pond, her little brother, 1-year-old Sebastian, wasn't so lucky.

"He didn't catch anything but he tried really hard," Shylar said.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife stocked the pond with about 500 small to medium-sized rainbow trout, said Trevor Balzer of the department.

"This actually gets a lot of kids hooked on fishing who might not normally be introduced to this," said the DOW's Mike Bauman as he unclamped hooks from fish to be returned to the water.

The DOW donated about 50 fishing rods for the event.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars post 4265, its auxiliary group and the Cedar Mountain Lions Club fed hamburgers, hot dogs and soda to the participants.

The Huck Finn Day tradition began in 1953 with then Elks Lodge exalted ruler, Leo Schneider.

Schneider spent time Saturday at the fishing and costume contest, looking over the banks lined with families, squirming fish and excited children.

"It's nice to see something that I started still going," he said. "I think it's good for parents and kids to have something to do."

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