40 years of fun spun from one risky idea

Forty years ago a group of men who loved Alpena, loved fishing and who were known to take a risk or two decided to start the Brown Trout Festival.

Some, thinking they were foolish, called them “dreamers.”

Maybe they were. After all, 1975 wasn’t necessarily a very positive year in U.S. history. Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) restricted the flow of oil to countries supporting Israel. Oil prices rose by triple digit percentages spurring a recession first in Europe, then in the United States.

This energy crisis impacted everything and eventually would lead to long lines and gas rationing at certain parts of the United States.

Truth be told, it probably wasn’t the best year to begin a new fishing tournament. Conventional wisdom would have said to wait.

But what some saw as foolish turned out to be genius, and 40 years later we will gather down at the Big Tent and city marina for food, fun and fish.

Over the years the festival has enjoyed good years and bad. It has seen leaders come and go. There have been years when fish were plentiful and years when fish were scarce. Yet through it all one thing always has been a staple of the festival – a group of volunteers waiting and willing to make the festival successful.

This year is no different.

We wish festival committee members and volunteers much success this year. May the waters be calm, the skies blue and the fishing, plentiful.

Tight lines!