It’s the best show in town, and it’s here right now. The NRA Great American Outdoor Show — the largest show of its kind — runs at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg from Saturday Feb. 1 through Sunday Feb. 9.
Visiting the Great American Outdoor Show is a great opportunity to speak with outfitters, meet well-known industry personalities and learn from more than 250 seminars and demonstrations from outdoor experts. You can renew your Pennsylvania Outdoor News subscription, purchase this year’s fishing license, and potentially win some pretty cool prizes.
There’s plenty to see by way of entertainment too, with Dock Dogs, Kids Casting Contests, Archery Competitions, family activities — and even a Chris Janson country concert.
Food vendors, retailers and all the top gun manufacturers will be showcasing their wares as well, so attendees can keep up with the latest and greatest in gear. You’re nearly certain to spend some money, but there’s literally something for everyone.
But the big highlight, for me, is that the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association — an amazing organization I currently serve as president — is hosting its 38th annual Sportsman’s Auction.
Held each year on the last Sunday of the show, this year’s popular event is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 9 from 1-3 p.m. in the Erie Room, located upstairs above the Small Arena. I feel absolutely no shame in plugging this auction, because it serves such a wonderful cause, as it has for decades.
All funds raised through the auction benefit the association’s Youth Education Grant program, which for years has supported student programs designed to get youth outdoors and to teach them about the valuable natural resources available throughout the state.
Youth fishing days, nature photography programs and camps introducing urban middle and high school students to various outdoor activities are just a few of the programs supported by the association.
To date, the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association has raised and distributed over $400,000 to fund youth educational opportunities. POWA’s supporting and active members, as well as many of the show’s vendors, donate items and services. Auction items in the past have included guided fishing trips, firearms, hunting and fishing accessories and artwork, and there are plenty of those items on tap for this year as well.
What’s even better is that anyone who visits the show earlier in the week for the regular $12 ticket price, can “Bounce Back” on the final Sunday (the day of the auction) for FREE, as long as they bring their previously used tickets with them. Now that’s an incentive.
In addition to serving as the state’s only professional organization for writers, photographers, artists, broadcasters and bloggers dedicated to informing Pennsylvanians about the wise use and management of natural resources and outdoor recreation, the association’s mission includes promotion of outdoor education and increasing awareness and appreciation of our natural resources and outdoor heritage.
Please stop by our Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association booth to say hello, check out the auction items, and share some good hunting or fishing stories. The week will go by quickly, but it’ll surely be a fun one. I’ll see you at the Great American Outdoor Show!