For the 150 participants who headed to Echo Lake Park on Saturday, most of them left knowing they had pulled in at least one fish from the lake during the annual Baxter's Fishing Derby.
Heading into the day there were questions about whether the participants would be doused by a fall rain storm, but Steven Fecher, the coordinator of the event said it ended up being a perfect fall day for all involved. And with the lake fully stocked for the derby, children of all ages, ranging from five to 14 did their best to reel in the best catch. By the time the day was done 125 fish had been pulled from the water.
Fecher credited the family that lends its name to the event for helping to make the event a success as an annual fall rite of passage. "The Baxter Family (Bob and Barbara) attend the derby each and every year and have supported their derby in honor of their son Rob, for the past seven years in any way shape and form," he said.
In addition, Fecher said the township's Lake Restoration and Wildlife Committee played an important part in helping the event happen every year. The committee plays an important role supplying the worms and trophies for the event as well as helping to stock the lake with the prizes being sought after.
Having helped to run the event for the past few years, Fecher said it is something he has come to enjoy as part of his duties. "The Baxter's Fishing Derby is one of my favorite community events the township holds each year," he said. "As a lover of nature, the peaceful tranquility of the lake and park setting is a relaxing time for me during my normal hustle and bustle of every day life."
And while he enjoys being part of the event, Fecher said it is the enjoyment of the participants themselves that makes all the effort that goes into the preparation well worth it. "This event is great because everyone from all walks of life can enjoy fishing and to see the reaction of the children's faces when they pull up a fish is priceless"