Every year about this time, the Johnston Parks and Recreation Department holds an event that provides many memories for dozens of children and their family members as well.
It’s called the JPRD’s annual Youth Fishing Derby, a for-kids only event that will again provide unlimited photograph opportunities of kids reeling in what is often the first fish they’ve ever caught in their young lives.
And, in keeping with tradition, JPRD staffers like Program Coordinator Vin Jackvony, who has helped plan the Youth Fishing Derby for nearly two decades, will again ask the big question, “What kid will catch the biggest, longest and heaviest fish after casting their lines into the pond located inside Johnston War Memorial Park?”
It will all happen this Saturday morning, April 28, beginning at 9 a.m. and running until 12:30 p.m.
“If the weather cooperates, we could have a near record crowd,” Jackvony said. “The banks surrounding our pond will be lined with kids of all ages and accompanied by parents and grand-parents. It’s quite the spectacle, seeing all those children casting their lines…reeling in their catches; it’s family-fun unlimited.”
Jackvony, who also announced that for the third time in as many years Johnston’s largest corporate neighbor, Citizens Bank-which is nearing completion of its campus off Greenville Avenue that will be the new home of 3200 employees-has again signed on to sponsor Saturday’s annual Youth Fishing Derby.
He also announced that Saturday’s Youth Fishing Derby will feature two different age groups. Kids ages 8 to 12 can fish from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and youngsters 4 to 7 years old will cast their lines beginning at 11 a.m. and fish until 12:30 p.m.
Jackvony, who has always done special promotional posters for all JPRD events, also wanted it known that “this is a free event for the children.”
“Please remember, though, this derby as we’ve called it for years, is for the kids,” Jackvony said. “Please let the kids do all the fishing. However, people can help cast and release the fish – if necessary – but the most important thing about the derby is to have fun.”
Awards will be given for individual achievements and Jackvony also announced that two groups whose members are skilled and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to fishing will be on hand to help during Saturday’s derby.
First off, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Agency (DEM) will again stock the pond located inside Johnston War Memorial Park with fish – mostly trout – for the event.
Likewise, officials from Save the Lakes, an important non-profit that has supported the derby for many years will also be in Johnston for the entire derby. Although it hasn’t officially been announced, it’s expected that the Ocean State Bassmasters, who have helped weigh and measure all fish that were reeled in during recent years, will also be on hand.
Those who’d like more information about the Youth fishing Derby or other programs should call the Johnston Parks and Recreation Department at 272-3460.