The cancellation of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show last year cost Dauphin County millions of dollars in lost revenue. “The Visitors Bureau estimated that last year’s cancellation costs the area and the community about $88 million, that’s restaurants people are not going to eat, gas that’s not being pumped into the cars, and that also means there was 22 hotels that were booked for a week and a half that just went completely empty,” said Lars Dalseide, with the National Rifle Association.
The cancellation happened when the promoter decided not to allow certain guns at the show a month after the Sandy Hook School Shooting.
This year the show is back with the NRA as the organizer, new vendors, new attractions, and a new name: The Great American Outdoor Show.
Employees with Lancaster Archery Supply have spent a lot of time preparing for the show. “Hours and hours, and days, and weeks,” said manager Chris Scott.
So has Joseph Staudt, owner of Staudt’s Gun shop in Harrisburg. “Literally months of preparation. Doing all the prep work, and getting set up for the show that’s the hard part. For us to be here talking to our customers and doing what we do everyday that’s the fun part. So we’re looking forward to it,” said Staudt.
Organizers say this years event will have a bigger emphasis on firearms. “We’ve expanded the shooting hall, actually we created the shooting hall, they never had a shooting hall before. We have brought in a lot of national brands,” said Dalseide.
But Dalseide said they aren’t trying to make the show all about guns. It will still focus on everything outdoors, and they’ve planned a lot of new attractions to prove it. “We’re having seminars all day, everyday. Everything from making your own sausage, to learning how to fly cast, to elk hunting 101, to what to do with concealed carry options. Anything and everything you are looking for,” said Dalseide.