Outdoor exposition expected to draw thousands

The Warren County Outdoor Travel and Gun Show will be held at the Warren Mall on Saturday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan. 12, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The hours have been extended to allow people with other obligations to attend.

The first year of the show was held at Wild Wind Sporters in Starbrick, according to John Papalia, Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry director of the Council on Tourism.

“With little promotion, we put about 500 people through,” he said. “After the first year, we decided to hold the event at the Warren Mall. Last year, we estimated that 7,000 people attended over two days. This is our fourth year at the mall, and it’s been a great venue.”

He said the show has grown to around 80 vendors with booths in the concourse and will fill all the available store fronts.

“We try to get representation from all aspects of outdoor activities,” he noted.

Vendors and displays include all-terrain vehicles, hunting and fishing, outdoor clothing, cutlery, taxidermy and wildlife art.

Papalia said that last year a gun show was extremely popular and successful.

“It was a great piece for our show. Guys with ammo will do well,” he added.

Vendors and presenters are mixed between local and regional businesses and organizations, including charter boat captains from Erie, Anchor Point Archery at Calvary Christian and rod and gun clubs. The clubs and non-profits are not charged for their booths.

He said, “We don’t want to do it half-way, we want a quality show. It is now recognized as a premiere event in the region. It’s a good way to break things up (after the holidays) and have a little bit of fun.”

There will be presentations on fly-fishing and trapping and more.

“There is something for everyone, and the vendors are great. They take the time to talk with people,” he said.

Representatives from the Department of Conservation of Natural Resources, Chapman State Park, Allegheny National Fish Hatchery, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be on hand to talk about water safety and other outdoor issues.

Sponsors include Ed Shults of Warren, WhirleyDrinkWorks, Warren General Hospital, Ace Oneida Hardware and the Times Observer.

Sponsorships are year-round, and include other COT events as well.

Papalia said, “Come hungry, as there will be plenty of food.”