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Cleanup day set for Kellner’s Dam, derby approaching

Kellner’s Dam wasn’t able to host its annual fishing derby in 2020 due to COVID-19.

But now anticipation for the event at the Tamaqua dam might be higher than ever. Before the annual competition, members of the Kellner’s Dam Association, along with Tamaqua Borough Development Director Ann Marie Calabrese, are putting together a cleanup day on Sunday.

“I thought Kellner’s Dam could use some help,” Calabrese said, “and I decided to put this together.”

Robbie Van Norman, Kellner’s Dam Association secretary, said some minor landscaping and additional cleanup is necessary.

“She’s trying to put together a good team of people to come up and help us pull weeds and getting that stone distributed it out,” Van Norman said. “Basically, anything we need to get done to get the dam into tiptop shape, because the next week is the derby.”

Van Norman said the association has received a lot of support from local businesses.

“We have Guers trucking, and the Pierson quarry over in Middleport, who donated two truckloads of stone for us.

“Guers trucking transported it and dumped it for us at the pond, so we can use it to put down for the driveway and different things we need the stone for. That’s absolutely huge for us, we’ve been trying to do that for a while.”

Van Norman hopes more of the Tamaqua youth will get involved.

“We want to be able to have a section up behind the dam one day, where maybe the Boy Scouts can come in for the weekend and earn their fishing or camping badges,” Van Norman said. “We want to be able to have stuff like that for the community, and for the community to be more involved with it, too. We’re trying to really build it up.

“The more kids that we can get involved - and put down the electronics for a little bit and get out of the house is the big thing. It’s nice to have kids that are interested and want to learn about this stuff.”

The fishing derby is scheduled for April 24-25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to searching for volunteers to help clean up on Sunday, the association is also seeking food and beverage donations for the derby.

“Burgers, hot dogs, anything we can slap on the grill for the kids,” Van Norman said. “Anything else as well that would help us with the upkeep with the dam and a place that kids can get out of the house and go to.”

Van Norman noted that he was elected as secretary two years ago.

“During the first year of being secretary, I got us listed with the IRS as a 503(c), so we are charitable. We just got our small games of chance license from the county, so we can start selling raffle tickets and stuff like that to make more money for the dam.”

There will be raffles and door prizes at the derby.

Van Norman said they’re excited and doing everything possible to make it an unforgettable experience this year.

“It’s an ongoing thing, that’s why we volunteer for it. We want to keep it going.

“The joy for us is seeing the kids pulling out a 20- or 24-inch trout.”

For information, to volunteer or to donate, send a message to the Kellner’s Dam Association Facebook page.

Kellner's Dam, located at 500 Pitt St., Tamaqua, will host its annual fishing derby on April 24-25. EMMETT MCCALL/TIMES NEWS