Time again for Wild Game Feast at Altoona Alliance

It’s always my pleasure to announce the popular Wild Game Feast hosted each year by the Altoona Alliance Church located at 3220 Pleasant Valley Blvd. next to Planet Fitness. This year will mark the 13th annual installment of this worthwhile event, which will be held on Saturday, March 17.

The buffet style meal will include various kinds of delicious wild-game dishes, including elk, moose, bear, deer, rabbit, pheasant and fish, along with sides, desserts and drinks. And there are always some “regular” foods like store-bought turkey and hot dogs. Having attended this event many times, I’ve always found the variety and quality of the food to be excellent.

This year’s featured speakers will be the father-and-son football duo of Leo and Stefan Wisniewski. Both were star players at Penn State before moving on to pro careers in the NFL. After playing his high-school football at Fox Chapel Area High School in Pittsburgh, Leo went on to Penn State where he played nose tackle and racked up 102 tackles and 11 quarterback sacks during his college career.

He was drafted in the second round of the 1982 NFL draft by the Baltimore Colts. Leo played nose guard for the Colts three seasons, in Baltimore during 1982 and 1983 and during 1984 after the team’s move to Indianapolis.

Stefan Wisniewski played high-school football at Pittsburgh Central Catholic before following his father’s footsteps to Penn State, although his position was on the other side of the ball as a center on the offensive line. In college, Stefan was a star both on the football field and in the classroom, earning first-team All-American honors at his position in 2010 as well as becoming the first Penn State football player to be named a first-team ESPN Academic All-American three times in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Taken by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft, Stefan played for them from 2011 to 2014. He played for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015. He signed with his current team, the Philadelphia Eagles, in 2016, so he will be playing in the Super Bowl this evening against the New England Patriots.

Doors for the Altoona Alliance Church Wild Game Feast will open at 4 p.m. and dinner will be served at 5 p.m., followed by the Wisniewskis’ presentation and the awarding of a generous array of door prizes. Plan to get there early and browse some of the informational booths and outdoor resource tables that will be on display in the lobby before and after dinner.

Space is limited, however, and tickets are required for admission. Pastor Tim McGarvey said, “This is not a fundraiser for our church, but an outreach event we love doing for the community. We are asking a suggested donation of $10 per ticket to cover our costs.” Although the event is several weeks away, Pastor McGarvey also urges folks to get their tickets early to avoid disappointment because they tend to go rather quickly once the word gets out. Tickets will be available starting tomorrow, Feb. 5 (please, don’t call the church today!) at the church office. Tickets are limited to ages 10 and older. To obtain tickets or for more information, call the church office at 944-0171.

Coming Tuesday

This Tuesday, Feb. 6, I will be a guest on Doug Herendeen’s live talk radio show, “The 11th Hour” from 11 a.m. to noon on AM-1240 WRTA.

We will be discussing a variety of topics about fishing, hunting and the outdoors as well as taking phone calls from listeners. I have been appearing on Herendeen’s show several times a year and always enjoy the opportunity to talk about the outdoor sports, so if you are near a radio Tuesday morning, I invite you to listen or call in.

That same evening, I will be the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of our local Trout Unlimited chapter here in Altoona at the Allegheny Township Volunteer Fire Department located at 651 Sugar Run Road.

That event will start at 7 p.m. My presentation will be “A Short History of the Walt’s Worm.” The Walt’s Worm is a simple trout fly pattern that I created back in 1984 to target wild brown trout on Spring Creek in Centre County. That fly proved to be remarkably effective and acquired a significant local reputation that spread throughout the eastern United States, Canada and recently even to Europe.

Although I have always been amazed at the following this little fly has developed over the past 30 years, especially among many of the young anglers who participate in some of the fly-fishing competitions around the country, my greatest gratification comes from the many friends I’ve made because of it.

Almost anytime I’m among a group of other fly-fishermen, someone asks if I am the “Walt” behind the Walt’s Worm. When I acknowledge that I am, I’m usually treated to a bunch of stories about their experiences with the fly.

Memory lane

I recently found an old photo album with dozens of prints of my fishing experiences on Spring Creek back in the 1980s at the time I developed the Walt’s Worm.

I had several of those images scanned so I could include them as part of my program, and they certainly bring back some fond memories (even though I was about 35 years younger and 40 pounds lighter then). As time permits, I will also discuss some other favorite fly patterns and fishing topics in general. Hope to see you there.