Improvements Make Family Fest More Fan-Friendly

CELEBRATION, Fla. — While much of the hoopla surrounding the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic focuses on the three-day, world-class tournament, families and fishing fans also can participate in the annual Bassmaster Family Fest, which launches Classic Week on Sunday, Feb. 19th, in Florida.

The Bassmaster Family Fest – a one-day event including a kid’s fishing derby, a Bassmaster CastingKids exhibit, entertainment and concessions – is the perfect place for families to spend a day together enjoying fishing, said Stacey Twiggs, BASS National Federation senior youth manager. “This event is incredibly popular with families because it gives them a chance to enjoy one of the most popular and wholesome pastimes.”

The Family Fest is scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Venetian Gardens Lakefront Park in Leesburg. Participants receive a free Zebco rod and reel to fish with, as well as a T-shirt and cap, and giveaways from CITGO Bassmaster Classic sponsors. And for the first time in 16 years, Bassmaster Family Fest will be paired with another family-friendly event, the Bassmaster Junior World Championship.

“We’ve never combined Family Fest with another event before, but we’re excited about this,” Twiggs said. “With Family Fest now on Sunday, kids that would otherwise be in school will have a great opportunity to visit Venetian Gardens with family and friends to participate in this exciting event. Combing the two events will make a more festive atmosphere and a more enjoyable experience for everyone.”

The Junior Bassmaster World Championship, which awards $27,000 in academic scholarship awards and prizes, is divided into two age categories: 11-14 and 15-18. Participants advanced through a system of qualifying tournaments on the local and state level to reach the championship.

Participants of both the Family Fest and the Junior World Championship also will have the opportunity to meet the CITGO Bassmaster Classic competitors. Twiggs said the pro anglers will be on hand to take photos and sign autographs. “Family Fest will include the same things it always has, but it’ll be even better this year,” he said.

While the city of Leesburg has hosted nine BASS tournaments over the years, this will be the first time it will host Bassmaster Family Fest and Junior Would Championship. “We are a very family-oriented community and we feel we are the perfect venue for both of these events.” said Bill Deese, executive director of the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

Participants can register in advance on BASS also will accept on-site registration if space is available. The event is limited to first 1,000 entrants and adult supervision is provided. The Bassmaster Family Fest is part of the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26, 2006, on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.

Local sponsors of both the Bassmaster Junior World Championship and Bassmaster Family Fest are the City of Leesburg, Lake County Water Authority and Lake County Economic and Developmental Tourism Department.

The 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic will be hosted by the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Central Florida Sports Commission.

BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.

BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry’s widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit