Virginia is for outdoor lovers--and never more so than in the fall. Leaf peepers rejoice in afternoon hikes that show the Commonwealth\u2019s glorious fall colors to advantage. Many enjoy crisp, locally grown Virginia apples in either \u201coriginal crunchy,\u201d \u201chot and spiced,\u201d or \u201chard\u201d form. And of course many Virginians will head to their local streams to play tug of war with native brook trout. The Commonwealth is chock full of great trout fisheries like the Jackson, South Holston, Rapidan, and Rose Rivers and Mossy Creek--as well as a host of streams in Shenandoah National Park. Is it any wonder, then, that Virginia is the birthplace of the first fly fishing festival? \n\n\n\nFor 20 years, the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival, the first event of its kind in the country, has introduced fly fishing to would-be anglers young and old from all walks of life. And never has our insistent, angry, plugged-in, stressed-out culture needed the quiet sport more. This year\u2019s festival opens its doors on January 11-12, 2020, from 9AM-5PM. \n\n\n\nCredit West Virginia Fruit & Berry.\n\n\n\nHeld each year inside the Farm Bureau Building at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia, this festival has become a must-do event for Mid-Atlantic fly anglers, who come out in droves to meet and learn from fly fishing guides, sporting lodges, outdoor artists, custom rod builders, fly tyers, specialty food vendors, and fly fishing outfitters from dream fishing locales like Pennsylvania, Montana, Colorado, Canada, Alaska, and the Bahamas.\n\n\n\nCan\u2019t cast? No problem: The festival offers a series of free and for-fee expert-taught fly casting classes for every skill level, including advanced casters and children. Got a Boy Scout? Perfect! He can earn his fly fishing merit badge through a class taught at the festival by BSA-certified instructors. \n\n\n\nCredit Alaska Bear Paw Lodge.\n\n\n\nFor those who love someone else who fishes, several of the Commonwealth\u2019s best wineries will be at the Virginia Fly & Wine sampling their wares (for patrons 21 years and older). Brand new this year: Wineries from West Virginia and Oregon! In fact, the festival admission fee covers everything from wine tasting to free walkup casting classes. \n\n\n\nBecause the Virginia Fly & Wine is passionate about getting veterans out on the water, the festival partners with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to rehabilitating wounded service veterans through fly fishing and fly tying, regardless of their physical limitations. In addition, the festival works with Trout Unlimited Tri-State Conservation Camp, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Casting for Recovery, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. \n\n\n\nCredit Scott Hertzer.\n\n\n\nFestival sponsors include Green Top, Temple Fork Outfitters, Gangler\u2019s North Seal River Lodge Terroir Films, Norvise, Trout Unlimited, Harman\u2019s North Fork Cabins, Reilly Rod Crafters, and many more.\n\n\n\n\u201cWe eagerly welcome beginners into the sport,\u201d says Festival Director Beau Beasley. At the same time, he adds, \u201cWe offer specialty classes that experienced anglers won't find anywhere else." New this year for foodies, "We\u2019re adding a 'Made in Virginia' specialty food section and are proud to have wildlife Chef Wade Truong hosting a cooking demonstration on Saturday.\u201d\n\n\n\nCredit Matt Riley.\n\n\n\nFemale anglers should make plans to attend the festival\u2019s Women Making Waves rally, held each day and sponsored by Take Me Fishing.org.\n\n\n\nExciting new classes include:\n\n\n\n--Advanced Fly Casting and Understanding Advanced Techniques with Master Certified Casting Instructor Mac Brown\n\n\n\n--Whiskey, Bourbon, & Bass Bugs with Lauren Riggleman of Silverback Distillery\n\n\n\n--Mayflies & Microbrews with entomologist Peter Stitcher\n\n\n\n--Fly Tying for Children and Getting Your Kids into Fly Fishing with Jess Westbrook, founder of The Mayfly Project\n\n\n\nAdmission to the festival includes free wine tastings for adults. \n\n\n\nVisit www.vaflyfishingfestival.org.