EAST LONGMEADOW — On April 13, the East Longmeadow Lions Club will host its fifth annual Spring Fishing Derby at Heritage Park from 7-10:30 a.m.

This free event offers an opportunity for children to enjoy the outdoors while they’re fishing as well as prizes for ages 3-14.

“This year will be the best ever that we’ve run,” said Lions Club Treasurer Bob Adams. “We’ve had an increase in participation year after year. We are stocking more fish this year. We’re doing more publicity now and registration is ongoing at this point.”

Founded in 1943, the East Longmeadow Lions Club is a service-based organization that sponsors annual events such as the Picnic for the Blind, Holiday Weekend Kickoff, including the Lighted Truck Parade and Tree Lighting in the center of town; and the Distinguished Citizen Award. Their fundraisers include an annual golf tournament in the summer, and wine and beer dinners in the spring and fall.

Originally, the East Longmeadow Jaycees ran the fishing derby for about 55 years. When the Jaycees disbanded, the derby didn’t take place for several years until the Lions Club was asked to bring it back in 2019. The Jaycees had large prizes for the winners of the tournament, so the Lions Club made a conscious decision to make sure every participant receives a gift bag once they arrive in addition to prizes by age division and for the largest and smallest fish.

East Longmeadow resident Deanna Bordoni has been attending the fishing derby event for 25 years. Her father took her when she was a little girl and now she takes her 6-year-old son.

“This event gets the whole town together. All the kids love it and they learn how to fish. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of excitement. I’m hoping my son catches the biggest fish,” she said.

Adams added, “It’s a great family event. It’s really fun to watch the kids come running up with their fish and get it weighed. This event has grown as a tradition for these families. It is one of the events we do in the East Longmeadow area to support and give back to the local community and businesses.”

The event is rain or shine. For registration, visit https://tinyurl.com/jfs5xayn.

Local sponsors to date include primary sponsor PeoplesBank, Monson Savings Bank, Rocky’s Ace Hardware, CMD Technology Group, Shaker Bowl, Texas Roadhouse, The Depot at Graham Central Station, Fenway Golf and Rice’s Fruit Farm. The Lions Club welcome additional sponsors or raffle donations to support this event. Contact the East Longmeadow Lions Club at eastlongmeadowlions@gmail.com.

Miasha Lee
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