UPDATED: Link to volunteer registration added.
When the ice retreats from lakes and longer, warmer days return The Perch Festival is synonymous with the official start of spring in Orillia,. For four decades, anglers from near and far have eagerly flocked to the shores of Lakes Couchiching and Simcoe to take part in the family-friendly fishing derby where anyone can “just fish to win.”
2023 registration is now open for the April 29 to May 6 event and more prizes are being confirmed each day. There are two $1000 tagged perch available, along with several $500 tags. Prizes also include a canoe, fishing gear, local shopping sprees courtesy of Trombly’s Tackle Box and Downtown Orillia, and, of course, the grand prize of a Lund fishing boat. More information about prizes and sponsors, and the registration link.
The Orillia Perch Festival has a new theme this year – Plaid, Perch, and Pancakes. This will provide an avenue to broaden the festival to appeal to a wider range of visitor interests and tastes.
The chamber has started conversations with its community partners about the potential for programming to take place in locations throughout Orillia and Lake Country during future Perch Festivals, for this year the concept is being kept fairly simple: wear plaid, fill up with a hearty breakfast of pancakes topped with some local maple syrup, and get out and enjoy spring activities in Orillia and Lake Country. While the derby is still at the core of the event, the message going forward for tourists is that you don’t have to be a fisherperson to have fun at the Orillia Perch Festival.
Local businesses are being encouraged to get involved by offering Plaid, Perch, and Pancake- related experiences and products during the festival. With the event kicking off shortly after maple season, there are plenty of ways to tie in to the pancake theme. Incorporating plaid and perch can be as simple as decorating or having staff dress up, although businesses are encouraged to get creative and take ownership of the theme. For example, Couchiching Craft Brewing Co. is preparing a Perch branded beer.
Volunteers are needed to help out, register online or contact the chamber at 705-326-4424