BENNINGTON>>In an effort to market the town and bring families together for a day, Kevin Hoyt, outdoor television personality, will host an "Outdoor Kids Day Event" on July 31.
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Vermont Veteran's Home, a variety of activities will be offered. Organized by Hoyt, who is the media relations director at Youth Extreme Outdoors. The National Youth Hunting Association travels across the country to host this type of event to educate children on the sport of hunting as well as aspects of wildlife.
Various experts will lead demonstrations and activities include an instructional BB gun range, trapping and fur bearing education, an archery range, a conservation seminar, a live animal and reptile exhibit, free fishing, a climbing wall, and a tick education and prevention seminar. The day will be filmed for national television. A pizza lunch will be provided.
Joella Bates, seven-time world champion archer, Fred Hoyt, kingfish master, ska national champion and ska angler of the year, Angie Arthur, international huntress, Dan Wolff, tick expert, Paul Doucette, Bennington Police Chief and The Erickson Family from New England Reptile Shows are among the list of expected special guests.
Wolff is traveling from Waltham, Mass. to teach children all about ticks. He's known as "Tick Man Dan" and even patented a tick remover tool, TickEase.
"I'm just kind of doing a descriptive presentation on what is lymes and how it affects the body, what ticks life cycles are, what parts of it are and why they're different from insects, how they bite and hang on, how the germs can get inside you or your pet, what's the best method of prevention and proper removal techniques," Wolff said. "It's kind of a fun presentation for a serious topic."
Hoyt has a $5,000 budget for the event, but will spend $8,000. After approaching the town with the event idea, hewas turned down and eventually decided to put the day together himself. Normally admission is free, but without a backbone, advance only tickets cost $10, but it has to be a pair; one child and one adult.
"I started going door to door, and saw that there's a lot of interest. So, we got the needed money together. I'm losing money. It's my donation," he said. "When I first approached the town of Bennington, I wanted them to pay for this there was zero interests."
One hundred tickets will be sold at $10 a piece for one adult and one child. If an adult has more than one child, it costs $10 per child. Hoyt said that his goal is to have a parent spend the entire day with their kid. Upon registration, participants will be separated into eight different groups based on age ranges to properly tailor educational information. There will be eight activity stations each lasting for 45 minutes. A prize and award ceremony will conclude the day.
"It's a two part thing. I wanted to provide a local event for kids and promote my town," Hoyt said. "It's something we're doing all over the country. There's no hunting involved at all except for talking about it and talking about the history of U.S. Fish and Wildlife; good and bad hunting. When we go to these small towns, it's a big deal for these kids"
Tickets can be purchased at Mincers Mini Mart Mobil Station at 735 Main St., Martin's Mini Mart Mobil Station at 301 Main St., and Marty's Sporting Goods & Gunsmithing Inc. on 1679 Harwood Hill Rd.
"Why do people come to Vermont? It's for a local crowd, but also national marketing campaign. It's not a fabulous night life (here). If you ask someone on the street from New Jersey or Connecticut, they would say something about nature, kayaking, skiing, etc. Outdoors, outdoors, outdoors," Hoyt said. "People ask me if we take American currency or what state Vermont is in. Out west, they think the northeast is one big city. My theory is we show that to them and they come. These are our people."
Local and national sponsors include The Citizens and Businesses of Bennington, The National Youth Hunting Association, which is the title sponsor, Bennington Wal-Mart, The Hermitage Club, The Future of Hunting Television Show, The Vermont Veteran's Home, Bennington Police Department, Vermont State Trappers Association, Global Archery, Daisy Airguns & Bows, Alliance for Community Transformation, New England Reptile Shows and TickEase.
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.