While much in the outdoors has changed since the first "Allentown show" debuted 27 years ago at Castle Gardens in Dorney Park, Lehigh Valley Sportsman Show promoter Dennis Brozey, president of P.B.M Productions Inc., said the emphasis now – as then – will be on outdoors activities.
A 25-year veteran of promoting a variety of shows, Brozey said the recent sponsorships by Cabela's and 2 Million Bullets has help attract hunting and fishing outfitters from the United States, Canada and Africa. This has helped him return an outdoors tradition to Eastern Pennsylvania this year with the rebirth of the Lehigh Valley Sportsman Show, Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, at Ag Hall of the Allentown Fairgrounds.
Show times are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with plenty of free parking. Admission is $10 and children younger than 12 are admitted free with a paying adult.
"This event has a strong focus on youth and bringing back our heritage of hunting, fishing and outdoor life," Brozey said. "Some of the organizations that will be represented are Keystone Elk County Alliance, Delaware River Shad Rivermen's Association, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Lehigh County Fish and Game Protective Association, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Lehigh Valley Branch Quality Deer Management, Little Lehigh Chapter of Trout Unlimited and The Lehigh River Stocking Association.
"John Annoni, founder of Camp Compass and 2 Million Bullets, is the goodwill ambassador for the event, and numerous door prizes donated by Cabela's will be awarded throughout both days. In addition, consultants will be available representing a variety of guides and outfitters to meet one-on-one with those looking to plan their next outdoors sporting adventure."
For many regional outdoors exhibitors like Rick Weaknecht, who operates his family's archery business in Kutztown, the Allentown-based show was always a favorite. He said the smaller scale of the show allows vendors to spend more time with longtime clients and make new friends.
"A lot of people whose parents came to our shop more than 40 years ago when my dad started the business don't like coming to the bigger shows," Weaknecht said. "There's a real family feeling to the Allentown show and provides the opportunity for more personal attention."
If the adventure one seeks is a hunting trip, there is a variety of game species to choose with outfitters representing all geographic areas of the United States, Canada and Africa. For those looking for a fishing trip, there are guides and charter boat captains from the East Coast that can put anglers on everything from trout and bass to saltwater species.
For those looking to upgrade their outdoors equipment, there will be vendors displaying firearms, archery gear, fishing tackle and other items. There also vendors for such big-ticket items as boats, motor homes, campers, log homes and ATV's.
Among those scheduled for seminars are:
Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which specializes in treating injured and orphaned wild animals until they can be released back to the wild, will display a variety of wildlife such as owls, raptors and reptiles. The Center holds permits from US Fish and Wildlife Service, the PGC and USDA.
Single Action Shooting Society is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and will display and demonstrate firearms won the West. Adding to the visual experience is that all members will be dressed in Western attire.
Butch Mellinger, a Horton Archery Pro Staff member, is the first hunter to complete the African Big 5 Grand Slam with a crossbow. His presentation will include movies of African hunts.
Camp Compass, in partnership with 2 Million Bullets, provides disadvantaged children with hunting and fishing outdoors skills and related programs will present a program focusing on youth.
Lance Dunham, owner and operator of L.D. Guide Service, will present a program on Northern river fishing. His new DVD will be available about his experiences and techniques in river fishing.
Shawn Kotchey, a member of the Mossy Oak Pro Staff, will present "Calling and Understanding the Wild Turkey." This seminar covers turkey hunting from A-Z with tips on hunting situations, calling, tactics and tips that focus on the Eastern wild turkey.
Delaware River Shad Association will present the history of shad fishing in the Delaware River and its tributaries and explain its objective and purpose to protect the migratory fish species by keeping the river flowing free of obstructions.
For information on the Lehigh Valley Sportsman Show, call P.B.M. Productions at 610-395-5280 or access the website at http://www.lehighvalley sportsmanshow.com/.