The weather’s warm, so shake off your cabin fever at Brewer outdoor show

If you’re in town for some tournament basketball action or are just looking to get out of the house for a bit, you might want to head to Brewer this weekend for what has become a very popular event.

Wildlife artist Mark McCullough paints an Allagash River scene during the During the 2013 Cabin Fever Reliever. (BDN file photo)

Wildlife artist Mark McCullough paints an Allagash River scene during the During the 2013 Cabin Fever Reliever. (BDN file photo)

The Penobscot Fly Fishers will be staging their annual Cabin Fever Reliever at the Brewer Auditorium, and nearly 50 exhibitors — including the BDN — will be on hand to chat about all manner of outdoor activities.

Like to tie flies? You’ll find plenty of kindred spirits. Don’t know how to tie, but want to introduce the activity to a child? This is the place to go. Want to watch your kids try their hand at archery or on the air rifle range? Or to learn about the state’s wildlife or fisheries? That’s only a sample of what you’ll find.

The show runs 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.

“For us, this is our big outreach to the community every year,” said Mike Hegarty, the show’s chairman. “You look at our club and you say, ‘Yeah, you’ve got a lot of older people here.’ We want to start getting more interaction with younger folks. Not just fishing, but the great Maine outdoors. Part of our charge is to do that, and this is the major way we do that.”

In addition to the exhibitors, a number of speakers are on tap, including presentations from author and guide Randy Spencer, Matt LaRoche of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and entomologist Hamish Greig.

While a sizeable crowd shows up each year, the small venue leads to a more relaxed feel than some other shows. Vendors are able to have conversations with attendees, and kids have plenty of activities to keep them busy.

“I don’t want to say we discourage people from selling stuff, but this is not a sportsman’s show per se,” Hegarty said. “It’s more for people to learn. When I accept exhibitors, one of the conversations I have is, ‘Yeah, you can sell stuff, but people need to walk away having learned something.’ And everybody kind of gets that.”

Hegarty said the Penobscot Fly Fishers have considered moving to a larger venue, but said the cozy Brewer Auditorium seems a perfect fit for the Cabin Fever Reliever.

“It’s that small-town feel,” Hegarty said. “We don’t want to expand. We don’t want to lose our soul … I think we really do meet our goal of having folks show up and feel good about learning something on a weekend.”

BDN at the show

When you’re at the Cabin Fever Reliever, make sure to stop by and visit. I’ll be there staffing the BDN booth both Saturday and Sunday, along with my boss, Sarah Walker Caron.

Fans of my colleague Aislinn Sarnacki will have to wait until the Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show in March to chat with her about her favorite hikes, however — she’ll be deep in the Maine woods on another adventure this weekend.

As has become our tradition, we’ll kick off this year’s “Win a Drift Boat Trip” contest — or as our promotions department has taken to calling it, “Float with Holyoke” — and we’d love to have you come by and enter.

This marks the 15th year we’ve been running the contest, thanks to Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville. One lucky winner will join me on Father’s Day, June 18, for a full-day drift down the East Outlet of the Kennebec River. We’ll fly fish some beautiful water, learn a lot about fishing and the river itself, and eat like kings.

The coolest thing? This isn’t a raffle. We’re not selling you anything. Entry in the contest is free.

But you can’t win if you don’t enter, so make sure to stop by the Cabin Fever Reliever, fill out an entry blank, and chat for a bit.

Lincoln derby on tap

If you’re more interested in getting outside this weekend, you might consider heading to Lincoln for the first Gary Gordon Ice Fishing Derby, which will run Saturday and Sunday.

The event will be held on 14 lakes and ponds in the Lincoln area, and all proceeds will go to support the Gary Gordon Veteran Center. Registration fees: $10 for individuals, $15 for a family, and $6 per person for veterans and those older than 60. Participants can register at the veteran center from 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday.

John Holyoke can be reached at or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.