Straw hats and cane poles

Organizers, children gear up for Huck Finn Fun Day

Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn -- characters described in the stories of author Mark Twain -- kept it simple. All they needed to go fishing were cane poles, a can of worms and bare feet in the mud on the riverbank.

That simplicity returns to Craig at Loudy-Simpson Park. The annual Huck Finn Fun Day is from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Event Chairman Johnny Gar--cia said he is expecting almost twice as many children as the 120 who attended last year's rain-soaked event.

"It's all about the kids," Garcia said. "We're hoping for 250 kids to come out this year -- the more the merrier."

Local children have been taking part in the fishing event for more than 50 years, Garcia said.

Children are divided into age groups of 1 through 8 and 9 through 15.

Children are encouraged to dress the part of characters Huck Finn or Becky Thatcher to win prizes in the costume contest.

Huck's ragged overalls and straw hat can be matched by his corn-cob pipe and willow pole for fishing. A child dressed as Becky likely will sport two braids under a bonnet, along with a long skirt under a dainty apron.

Prizes also will be awarded to children catching fish on their homemade poles, a task made easier by the stocking of the pond at Loudy-Simpson by the Colorado Division of Wildlife on Friday night.

Prizes include bicycles, fishing poles and gear and savings certificates.

Garcia hopes the event will encourage parents to get their children interested in fishing as a sport and hobby.

"Even the youngest tyke can fish," Garcia said. "You see the smiles on their faces, the excitement. You can't beat that."

Included in the fishing event are safety and fishing tips provided by the Moffat County Sheriff's Office and DOW.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., and fishing gets under way at about 8:30. The contest will continue until all prizes have been awarded.

Fishing licenses are not needed because the event takes place on Colorado's free fishing day.

Children must be registered to fish, and there will be a four-fish limit.

Hamburgers, hot dogs, sodas and ice cream will be provided for contestants and parents. Prizes have been donated by Craig businesses, Garcia said.

'These local businesses have a heart for the kids' projects," Garcia said. "They always come through."

Huck Finn Fun Day is sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 and Ladies Auxiliary and the DOW.

For more information, call Johnny Garcia at 824-5320.

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