01/20/14 FORT WAYNE Northern Indiana’s ultimate outdoor-turned-indoor experience—the 5th annual Outdoor Sports, Lake & Cabin Show returns Friday Jan. 24 through Sunday, Jan. 26, spanning 108,000 square-feet of the Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Avenue.
“In the dead of winter, people wait for the harsh weather to break and grow tired of being cooped up for months,” said David Marquart, director of operations for Coliseum Productions. “Our show gives them something to look forward to—whether it be a trip, new gear or ‘toy’— and it’s a great way to explore the outdoors in one central place.”
From the adrenaline junkie and athlete to the traveler and remodeler, the show ties in outdoor interests for all seasons, plus offers entertainment and activities for the whole family.
Over 150 exhibitors will feature the latest products and services relating to biking, hiking, camping and fitness, hunting and fishing, boats and watersports, vacation and travel, recreational vehicles and motorsports, and cottage living.
In its fifth year, here’s five top reasons outdoor enthusiasts should head to the show:
Interactive, family fun. Two large fishing ponds stocked with hundreds of bluegill will host several contests as well as a Fishing Derby fundraiser, which costs just $4, but a portion of proceeds benefits St. Jude’s Hospital. Live bait and fishing poles will be provided.
Children can also get a dose of the beach and feel the sand between their toes at the 400 square-foot indoor beach, sponsored by WAJI.
Away from the water, Ehlerding River City Harley-Davidson will offer free simulated motorcycle rides, and novice hunters can learn to shoot a precision air rifle for just $5. The fundraiser led by Gregg Rice, coach of the state champion Bishop Dwenger Rifle Team, and one of only two USA/NRA Level 3 rifle coaches in the state of Indiana, will benefit The X Count and help fund their way to becoming a USA Shooting Certified Training Center.
Children under the age of 18 can experience the “thrill of the hunt” by learning to shoot 3-D targets like elk, mountain lion, bear and even a dinosaur. Participants will be eligible to win a Mathews Genesis Bow from the Northeast Indiana Chapter of Safari Club International.
Retro Kustom RVs, a business that personalizes old Americana RVs with airbrushed themes, will have a one-of-a-kind 1971 Winnebago Family Truckster on display replicating a combination of Clark Griswold’s green station wagon and Cousin Eddie’s ragged motor home from the popular movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” Characters from the movie will also make an appearance for photo ops.
Lumber “Jack & Jill” Shows. For the second consecutive year, STIHL Timberworks Lumberjack Shows will entertain audiences daily with a speed climb 45-feet high, ax throwing, chopping, log rolling, cross-cut sawing, hot sawing and chainsaw carving contests, but with new women competitors known as “lumberjills,” featuring one currently ranked as top 10 in the world for women’s professional log rolling.
The group will perform at 5, 6:30, 8 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m., 1:30, 3:30, 5:30 p.m. Saturday; and 12:30, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. In the past, they’ve been seen on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” ESPN’s “Jeep Trails,” Discovery Channel’s “The Travelers,” MTV’s “The Real World” and “Road Rules,” and the Outdoor Life Network.
Convenience. The expo saves consumers time, and takes the hassle out of driving all around Fort Wayne and even further to scope out price points and products, Marquart said. It’s the No. 1 place to start exploring, and consulting with experts face-to-face.
In fact, a 30’x40’ 25,000-galloon try-before-you-buy lagoon will allow sportsmen to take kayaks or canoes for a test spin. Guests can walk through and explore a fully furnished pre-built oak cabin home, too. “It’s not something you’d typically find in the heart of Fort Wayne!” Marquart said.
Affordability, and deals. Besides a plethora of exhibitor show-only specials and RV blowout sale, outdoor enthusiasts shouldn’t have to spend more than $7 to attend, which is valid all weekend.
Cost is $10 for adults, but a $3 off VIP discount is available on www.SportsandCabinShow.com. Early bird registrants can skip registration lines and are entered to win a trip to St. Petersburg, Fla., courtesy of Rock104.
Coupons are also available at Fort Wayne area Gander Mountain and Dick’s Sporting Goods stores, and Ehlerding Motorsports prior to the show. Anyone attending the Mizpah Shrine Circus Jan. 23-26 also receives $3 off admission with a ticket stub, not valid with combined offers. Children 12 and under are free. Coliseum parking is $5 in the main lot.
All guests receive Dick’s Sporting Goods coupons and can enter to win thousands of dollars worth of door prizes given away every hour.
Free seminars. Throughout the weekend, local and national experts will share valuable tips, demonstrate proper techniques and feature Indiana Wild exotic animals in 30-minute sessions on three stages. The topics and full schedule will be available on the show’s website closer to show time.
The show is open Friday, noon to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information and updates on the schedule of events, log on www.SportsandCabinShow.com.
Photo: The Northeast Indiana Chapter of Safari Club International will give free lessons to children on how to shoot 3-D targets like buffalo with a bow and arrow—a new attraction for the 2014 Outdoor Sports, Lake & Cabin Show.