by NRABlog Staff - Friday, February 26, 2016
I stared out the window of my hotel room, and everything was covered in white. Apparently it snowed last night. I check my phone to see if we received any new messages on our Facebook page, everyone else must have checked the weather or looked out the window too because the most frequently asked question, “Is the show cancelled due to weather?” … I respond to each message individually with, “No! The Show is still open from 10am – 7pm today!” and just like that…the show goes on…
“Always a great show!! Thanks to all who attended and stopped by our booth! See you next year!” – Mossberg & Sons, Inc.
Nine days, rain or shine, the Great American Outdoor Show is open for business, bringing together people from all across the country to celebrate the passions and traditions of the outdoor lifestyle.
Whether your interest is hunting, fishing, boating, archery, firearms or all the above, there is something for everyone. 8 different halls dedicated to each, with over 1,000 exhibitors filling up 650,000 square feet of space…make sure you plan for at least two days!
Big manufacturers and small-businesses alike love the Great American Outdoor Show because it is a chance to communicate with consumers on a more personal level. They get to meet people, get feedback and sometimes even make long-lasting friendships.
It’s easy to get lost amid all the people and the exhibitors, but there’s a trick to guide you from one end to the other… starting at the NRA Booth, located in the Shooting Sports Hall, if you walk straight down the, “Spine”, past the Wall of Guns, which by the way had an amazing show, raising almost $170,000 for the NRA Foundation!
“We had a great time!!! So so so many amazing people! And cold weather did not stop anyone!” – Nanci Stevens, Attendee
Into the fishing hall, past the “hawg trough,” ….a gigantic fish tank filled with bass fish …. We’ll let that sink in…
You can’t miss it because majority of the time, there’s a large crowd drawn towards it. Professional anglers do live demonstrations at all times of the day.
Keep walking until you reach the “Small Arena” where you can find some of the outdoor world’s most knowledgeable hunters and sportsmen sharing their advice, tips and tricks on anything from training your hunting dog to hunting white tail deer…
“The [other] show is like going to the damn museum, and I hate going to the museum. Why? You can’t buy any of the [stuff]!” – R. Lee Ermey, The GunnyContinue to forge on, and you’ll enter the hunting hall – trust me, the taxidermy will tell you you’re in the right place. It’s all really fascinating. Especially the booth that includes the display of big game. Who hasn’t stopped for pictures?
Ta-Da! You’ve made it to the other end. But now you have to go back and explore all the perimeters just to ensure you don’t miss anything because let me tell you, there is so much going on from wall to wall of the Show – again, another reason why you’ll need at least TWO days!
From the NRA News live broadcast to the Family Fun Zone, to the NRA Store and Pyramyd Air Gun Range – each hall has something that is unique, fun and interactive for the whole family!
“It’s like Disney World for the outdoor junkie. 2 Days wasn’t enough to see it all!” – Candy Nies, Attendee
It’s important to ensure you stay fueled throughout the show. Nobody likes to be hangry (That’s Hungry + Angry). For this reason, this year, we expanded the food options with 3 cafes located throughout the show, and smaller vendors spread across the different halls. Personally, my favorite is a swirl milkshake (that’s vanilla and chocolate) alongside one of Rachel’s pretzels, all for $9! Another one of my favorites are the nachos “all-the-way”, which means a large portion of nachos with my choice of pulled bbq pork, chicken, or beef, chili, cheese and jalapenos. (I go with the pulled bbq pork), also for $9. Food at the Great American Outdoor Show won’t break the bank, it’ll make you happy though.
When the show day comes to an end, I am exhausted, but the adrenaline keeps pumping and I am ready for some nighttime fun in Harrisburg. So what’s there to do? I’m glad you asked.
People travel near and far for this Show, almost all 50 states are represented! 76% of hotels in the Hershey Harrisburg area are booked during these nine days.
“Cannot wait to see who they bring in for next year! This was the best show yet!” – Janell Kathryn Bush, Attendee
From the NRA Foundation Banquet to the NRA Country Concert, there’s no lack of evening fun! The NRA Foundation Banquet usually takes place the first Saturday. This year, almost 400 people attended and helped raised over $100,000.
The last Saturday of the show, NRA Country brings down the house with some of country music’s most noteworthy artists. They take the stage in the Large Arena, and for the third year has sold out! This year, we didn’t just have one name, but THREE! Headliner Justin Moore featuring music-duo LOCASH and Pennsylvania native Ben Gallaher. Nine days may seem like a long time, but time goes fast when you’re having fun.
Until next year, my friends!