Franklin Countys First News

Outdoor Heritage Museum hosting Herb Welch Festival

Herb Welch

OQUOSSOC - On July 6-7 from 10-4 p.m. each day the Outdoor Heritage Museum will host the first ever Herb Welch Festival. The event will feature a newly expanded exhibit highlighting the exploits, art and genius of the legendary Herb Welch.

Welch who resided at Haines Landing for many years was a true renaissance man who excelled as a guide, artist, taxidermist, fly-caster and showman. He was friends of celebrities like Ted Williams, set world fly-casting distance and bone fishing records and guided President Herbert Hoover. He also studied Art in Paris and New York and sported a .400 plus batting average and a sparkling.937 fielding percentage as a semi-pro shortstop.

Graydon and Les Hilyard will be on hand to personally sign their recently released book, Herbert L. Welch: Black Ghosts and Art in a Maine Guide's Wilderness. Other features of the weekend include; fly-casting instruction on the museum grounds, demonstrations and tying instruction by famous contemporary tiers: Justin Crouse, Peter Simonson and Les Hilyard with a focus will be on the original fly patterns developed by Welch.

There will be qualifying for the "100-Footers Club" where Fly-casters may use their own fly rod of any weight (sorry no two-handed rods) to attempt to cast 100 feet and enter this illustrious club for just a $25 donation. Qualifiers will get three attempts to try and earn a custom sweatshirt proclaiming their achievement. Herb Welch was a member of this long-ago-disbanded and exclusive society. We are bringing it back, so come give it a while and join the legend himself in this elite association!

The fun continues that evening with an exclusive showing of International Fly-Fishing Film Festival at 6:30 p.m. on July 6 at Lakeside Theatre in Rangeley. This is the oldest and most acclaimed edition of an annual film competition featuring the best short films from destinations around the world. You don't have to be an angler to enjoy this collection of spectacular short films and their breath-taking cinematography. However, you may want to become a fly fisher after you see them! This is not the film series shared at Railroad Cinema in Brunswick earlier this year.

The event will also feature a Raffle and Silent Auction offering art, gear, trips, and more. Adult refreshments and theater munchies will be available at the concession stand in support of Rangeley Friends of the Arts. Come view some amazing short films & support two great non-profits. Tickets sales are in support the museum and are $12 in advance at Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc.

The Herb Welch Festival continues Sunday, July 7 with special tours and a talk at Herb's Home on Bald Mountain Road offered hourly from 12 to 3 p.m. Tours can be reserved, in advance at 864-3091. Fly tying demos and book signing will continue until 2pm at the Museum. Come see our upgraded exhibit and celebrate all things "Herb!"

For more information please call 864-3091.

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