The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was canceled on Thursday 1/24/2013. The show was one that many people from the Mid-Atlantic and across the whole east coast traveled to for years. One of the biggest outdoor shows around, it was on many peoples must go-to list. It was backed by places like Cabelas and featured a 1000+ different vendors spread over the whole complex. The show was poised to be the biggest yet this year until about 2 weeks ago.
Two weeks ago, the show organizer Reed Exhibitions decided to ban modern sport rifles and large capacity clips. Upon this decision, almost immediately sponsors, vendors, and celebrity guest speakers all started backing out of the event. Early this week, I heard that one of the big sponsors Cabelas had backed out of the event and others quickly followed.
Finally, on Thursday they announced the show would be postponed until further notice just a week before the show was slated to start.
Here is the official announcement that was made and is listed on the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show's website:
Reed Exhibitions has decided to postpone, for now, the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show given the controversy surrounding its decision to limit the sale or display of modern sporting rifles (also called ARs) at the event. The show was scheduled to take place February 2-10 in Harrisburg, PA.
“Our original decision not to include certain products in the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show this year was made in order to preserve the event’s historical focus on the hunting and fishing traditions enjoyed by American families,” said Chet Burchett, Reed Exhibitions President for the Americas. “In the current climate, we felt that the presence of MSRs would distract from the theme of hunting and fishing, disrupting the broader experience of our guests. This was intended simply as a product decision, of the type event organizers need to make every day.
“It has become very clear to us after speaking with our customers that the event could not be held because the atmosphere of this year’s show would not be conducive to an event that is designed to provide family enjoyment. It is unfortunate that in the current emotionally charged atmosphere this celebratory event has become overshadowed by a decision that directly affected a small percentage of more than 1,000 exhibits showcasing products and services for those interested in hunting and fishing.
“ESS has long been proud to participate in the preservation and promotion of hunting and fishing traditions, and we hope that as the national debate clarifies, we will have an opportunity to consider rescheduling the event when the time is right to focus on the themes it celebrates.” Eastern Sports and Outdoor
How sad that a tradition and a great show had to be canceled.
Where you going to the show this year? What do you think about it being canceled?