The 2010 West Virginia Bass Festival starts today and continues through Sunday at the St. Marys Marina in St. Marys, West Virginia.
With 125 boats and 250 fishermen this year, the fishing tournament boasts cash prizes for the top 30 places, including $7,000 for first, $3,500 for second and $2,200 for third. The weigh-in results and awards will be presented at 5 p.m. Sunday at the marina.
The headliner for this year's festival is country music legend Janie Fricke, who will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Fricke had a string of top hits in the early 1980s, including winning the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the Year awards in 1982 and 1983. Her hits include "Down to My Last Broken Heart," "Don't Worry 'Bout Me Baby," "It Ain't Easy Being Easy" and "He's a Heartache."
The festival will begin with a parade at 6:30 p.m. today. Lineup is on Second Street, and the parade ends at the marina. This year's theme for the parade will be "Wild, Wonderful Fishy Fun." First place will receive $300, second place $200 and third place $100.
There will be entertainment each day of the four-day tournament and festival. Activities through the weekend for non-fishermen and community members will include music, amusement rides, a raft bash and canoe races, a cornhole tournament, a fishing tournament for women and children and other attractions.
In a new event this year, the Pleasants Area Lions Club will hold an Antique Car Cruise-In from 7 to 9 p.m. today, just after the parade. Organizers said car owners are encouraged to come early and participate in the parade itself.
The entry fee for the cruise-in is $1 per car and free for spectators. There will be dash plaques and prizes. Organizers hope to see the cruise-in grow into a full car show in the future.
The Cottrill's Car Care Raft Bash & Canoe Races on Saturday feature homemade rafts in one event and canoes in another, being raced along the Ohio River thoroughfare. The canoe races will be at 1:30 p.m., followed by the raft bash at 2.
The raft bash will feature two racing classes: traditional (log-style/primitive) and open competition (anything goes). All rafts in both classes must be totally man-powered by at least a four-person crew. A $250 prize will be awarded to the first-place winner of each race. Competitors are encouraged to come up with the most original idea for the construction of their craft because the most unusual/funniest contraption with the best costumed crew will also win $250 for their efforts, no matter how they place.
There will also be two classes for the canoe races: single and team. A $50 prize will be awarded to the first-place winner in each class. The second-place winners will receive gift certificates to Cottrill's Car Care.