Re-printed from The Mountain Mail, May 6 2015 edition.
By Marcus Hill, Mail Staff Writer
The 30th annual Caddis Festival presented by the Collegiate Peaks Anglers chapter of Trout Unlimited at Chaffee County Fairgrounds Saturday night saw a hike in attendance and money raised.
More than 260 people attended the banquet this year, which garnered more than $44,000 with the help of nearly 150 donors and more than 100 sponsors.
Vice President of the Collegiate Peaks chapter, Jim Impara, said the money raised goes towards a myriad of programs.
“The money raised here helps out with so much,” Impara said. “Restoration projects, educational activities, scholarships and various other things.”
Throughout the evening Impara joked that attendees had to stay to help with the break down of tables and equipment after the event. He said that more than 50 chapter members helped with the set up.
“It went very well. We ended up leaving at a decent time,” Impara said. “We got compliments on how smoothly it ran. Everyone I talked to said they enjoyed themselves.”
Scholarships for students in the community is an important focus of the fundraiser. This year, the two recipients are Corbin Bennetts and Amy Harmon.
Both Bennetts and Harmon attend Western State University and each received scholarships worth $2,000 per semester.
Bennetts is majoring in environmental biology with minors in math and chemistry. Harmon, who has a double major in environmental biology and environmental sustainability, said having the scholarship is important for paying college tuition.
“I’m grateful for the scholarship,” Harmon said. “This really helps with trying to take care of that part of school.”
A slew of items were auctioned off during the silent auction including fishing equipment, float rips, gift certificates and photographs. Impara said the Caddis Festival wouldn’t be possible without the help of all the donors and sponsors.
“We appreciate the help from our donors and sponsors,” Impara said. “We couldn’t do it without them. This is true grassroots community support for our chapter.