It’s the largest consumer outdoor show in the country. And it gets underway Saturday, Feb. 2 and runs until Feb. 10 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. To many sportsmen in the Lehigh Valley, this show is commonly known as the “Harrisburg Show,” despite it’s new name of “The Great American Outdoor Show.”
Hosted by the NRA and Ram trucks, this year’s super show will feature over 200 seminars, 1,100 exhibits, over 400 hunting/fishing outfitter’s from around the world, equipment dealers including the top firearms manufacturer’s, ATVs, SUVs, trucks and boats.
Added attractions are the NRA Foundation banquet and a country music concert on Feb. 9 featuring entertainers Easton Corbin, Lee Brice and Tyler Farr. Then there’s Phil Robertson, of the Duck Commanders TV show, who will host a meet-and-greet at the Friends of the NRA Banquet.
A sampling of seminars will include Lee and Tiffany Lakosky on Hunting Whitetails; Corey Brossman sharing information on Bowfishing 101; Barry Wensel on Longbow Hunting Whitetails and many more.
While mom and dad will feel like a kid in a candy store, kids can have a ball at the show as well. The show will have a Kids Casting Contest, Trout Pond, NRA Air Gun Range, and for younger children, the Eddie Eagle Kids Zone, manned by NRA personnel and offering a host of activities to keep kids interested and occupied. There will also be a rock climbing wall and live raptors exhibit.
Other events are the Dock Dogs, 3D Archery Challenge, calling contests even taxidermy competition hosted by Pennsylvania Taxidermy Association.
Like to win one of the guns on the Wall of Guns? Buy a raffle ticket or two and you may get lucky. And judging from last years Wall, all 60-plus firearms are top-notch.
If you’re a bowhunter or archer, one nicety of the show is that you can try out a bow, be it compound, crossbow, recurve or PCP, before you buy. The vast archery section will have the gamut of major bowhunting equipment manufacturers offering everything from bows to treestands and then some.
Some patrons plan vacation days around the show because as customary, the weekdays are less crowded than weekends - although certain weekdays are just as packed.
If you’re handicapped or have a tough time walking the myriad of displays, scooters and wheelchairs are available for rental.
Food and drink concessions are scattered throughout the show with seating areas reserved for food patrons so you don’t have to stand and eat.
And instead of standing and waiting in the customary long lines at the shows’ entrances, go to (www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org) and purchase your show and Country Concert tickets online. The shows’ complete schedule and times are also posted there. You can also download a smartphone app that has a floor directory, dates, times, seminar schedule and more.
As for admission, if you purchase you NRA membership at the show, admission for the day is free. Otherwise ticket prices are: Adults, $14; 2-Day admission, $24; Seniors (65 and over), $12; Groups (10 or more), $12; Children 6-12, $7; Late Afternoon Special, $8; Kids with a paying adult are free. Guests who bring a previous day’s ticket receive FREE admission on Sunday, Feb. 10.
Nearly $200,000 of show’ proceeds are granted yearly to various Pennsylvania outdoor organizations. So the NRA gives back to the community.
Directions to the show are on their website and for GPS users, the Farm Show is located at 2300 Cameron Street, Harrisburg, Pa 17110.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.