Feb. 2 isn’t just for groundhogs anymore.
Those with a taste for the outdoors — especially folks with a fondness for fishing — might find an upcoming presentation at the Westport Christian Church much to their liking, regardless of the weather predictions of a certain famous whistle-pig that morning.
Noted angling expert and past Bass Masters Classic participant Terry McWilliams will highlight a day dedicated to outdoor life at “The Port” Feb. 2, one aimed at getting local residents off their couches and back into nature.
According to Westport Christian Church Pastor Mike Bartlett, McWilliams will offer fishing tips for approximately an hour within the church, beginning at 3:15 p.m., as the keynote speaker of the church’s inaugural Fishing and Hunting Expo. McWilliams, an accomplished fisherman who has taken part in several major tournaments throughout Indiana and across the nation, will share the tricks of his trade with all those who attend at no charge.
Pastor Bartlett called the event an “outreach” program, one he hopes will encourage healthy activities in young and old alike.
Bartlett’s own love of bass fishing played a part in tapping McWilliams for the program as well.
“I am an avid bass fisherman,” said the Westport Christian Church pastor. “There is absolutely nothing in our area, in terms of events, dealing with the topic of fishing.”
Bartlett went on, “It’s always been kind of a desire of mine to have something in our area. Our goal is this event will outgrow the capacity of our church.”
Along those lines, Bartlett hopes the day’s events will bring more guests to his church, regardless of their faith.
“If someone attends the expo,” said Bartlett, “we want people to know that, ‘hey, you’re welcome here.’”
Welcoming the expected 300 to 600 people Pastor Bartlett anticipates will attend the event will be several vendors offering homemade wares.
Bartlett told the Daily News the vendors will offer handmade lures designed around attracting specific types of fish among many other items.
Those vendors will donate some of their goods as door prizes, which will be given away throughout the event. The Hunting and Fishing expo kicks off at 8 a.m. and is expected to wrap up around 5 p.m.
Representatives of Ducks Unlimited, Muscatatuck chapter, will be there as well, offering education on waterfowl and proper hunting procedures.
Bartlett told the Daily News he hopes the event can dispel the “stuffy” stereotype sometimes associated with those of the Christian faith.
“We’re normal people who are just trying to live a life that is pleasing to God,” said Bartlett. “We enjoy hunting and fishing, as do many others ... and we want to help people see the church in a different light.”
In addition to potentially removing a negative assumption held against some church-goers, Bartlett hopes the presentation will spur an interest in outdoor activities in today’s youth, many of whom spend much more time fiddling with sophisticated electronic devices than they do getting some fresh air.
“There’s more to do than sit at home, stare at a TV and play a video game,” said Pastor Bartlett. “That’s one of the things we want to promote.”
Bartlett explained that the free expo is in no way a money-making venture for the church. Instead, it’s a chance to bring together a community in a positive way.
“This is an opportunity to impact our community,” said Bartlett. “That’s what we want to do.”
Westport Christian Church is located at the corner of Range Street and Mulberry Street in Westport.
For more information, call 812-591-3807, or email Mike Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on Terry McWilliams can be found online at www.fishindy.com.
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056