Shellcracker Festival is a hit

Published 4:12 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On Saturday, people from all over came out for a day of fishing and fun at the 15th annual Shellcracker Tournament, hosted by the Lake Seminole Lions Club.

Anglers hit the lake, attempting to bring in the heaviest load of 25 shellcracker fish, to win prizes that included gift cards to various locations. More than 150 anglers registered to fish in the tournament, which began at 7 a.m.

The final weight-in took place at 2:30 p.m. and Kim Miller took first place, winning $250 with a weight of 18.55 pounds; Jeff Alford took second, winning $200 with a weight of 18.05 pounds; Randy Whitehurst took third place, winning $150 with his catch of 17.95, and 9-year-old Brock Dixon won the fourth-place prize of $125 with a weight of 17.45 pounds. Another winner was Spencer Culverson, who received $100 in the biggest fish contest pulling in a shellcracker weighing 1.4 pounds.

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One of the event organizers, Reed Rodstad, gave a special thanks to all the generous sponsors who made the event possible.

For all those not taking part in the fishing, the festival—now in its fourth year—offered a number of vendors selling everything from funnel cakes to handcrafted jewelry, rides and live entertainment.

The festival took place at Spring Creek Park Resort, where boaters could pull up and dock to the enjoy the events.

Young people had lots to do, with a rock climbing wall, mechanical bull, bounce house and playground set up. The Home Depot Kids Workshop had a booth where employees helped kids ages 5 through 12 build bird houses, miniature football goal posts and book ends that they got to take home along with a tool belt for free.

“It’s good to get kids outside and focussed on something that’s fun,” said James Pollock, department supervisor at Home Depot.

Several local churches had booths selling refreshments and various tasty treats.

Local entertainment was provided by several different artists. One such group was the Praise Band made up of five young people from the Spring Creek Baptist Church.

For the first time, a charity duck race was held with the proceeds going to benefit local charities such as the Spring Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Seminole County Literacy Program, Seminole County Band Camp, Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind, the Young Ambassador Scholarship Program, Seminole County High School Cheerleaders, Sight First, Southeast Guide Dogs, Ferst Foundation, Leo Club, Boy Scouts and the Seminole County Recreation Department. The first place duck was sponsored by Dennis Gale of Jakin, Ga. who received $500 and in a close second was the duck sponsored by young Alex Griffin of Donalsonville who received $100. The next eight places were awarded gift certificates donated by area merchants.

“It’s a wonderful event, and we provide a lot of services to the community,” said Lake Seminole Lions Club President Joanna Hatfield.

She explained that the festival raises money that goes to help the entire community. Hatfield said in addition to providing funding to a long list of charities and organization, the Lions even hope this year to purchase a quantity of mosquito spray for the Lake Seminole Community—which does not have that service.

Georgia Taylor, Lions District 18-C Governor, was at the festival providing vision screenings and vouchers for those in need of a helping hand with their sight.

“Lions are everyday heroes helping in their community with vision screens, surgeries and eye care and a lot of the money goes back into the community,” said Taylor.

Both the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had booths providing informational pamphlets on boating, safety and various other topics.

Park Ranger Marlene Love-Jones was promoting the Corps’ life jacket loaner program, which donates and exchanges life jackets to those who need them. She said they also travel to surrounding area schools and give programs on water safety and the environment.