PERRY -- With the sound of turkey calls in the air, the Great Outdoors Show was open for its final day for this year Sunday.
An estimated crowd between 6,000 and 7,000 people passed through the show at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter over the weekend. That was about normal for a winter show, according to Sam Stowe, sportsman’s program manager for the Georgia Wildlife Federation.
“We’ve had a good turnout. We’ve had a good show,” Stowe said. “Everybody seems to have had a good time, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The Fisherama and Turkeyrama events from Atlanta and Perry were combined in 2007 to create the Great Outdoors Show in Perry. That focused effort has led to a better show with regard to the available selection of outdoor gear, Stowe said.
“It’s improved our vendors and the quality of equipment,” he said.
That equipment ranged from guns and ammo to recreational vehicles and fishing gear. The vendors in that last category saw the biggest boost this season, Stowe said.
He credited the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of National Resources for re-stocking existing ponds and opening more public fishing areas. That has raised the interest level for fishing across the state.
“I think we’ve made it, publicly, more accessible,” Stowe said.
Another factor for fishing sales is the price point. J.C. Brantley, representing Jiffy Jigs out of Vidalia, said he lowers his price for a pack of lures by a dollar for the show and has sold a good number of his jigs over the last few years.
“I’ve had a fairly good weekend,” he said.
Another drawing point for the show was the Kid’s Kove. In that area, kids were invited to catch live fish with a slipknot line, try their aim at target practice, bungee jump on a trampoline and even touch some animals.
Joey Turner, of Bonaire, had his 10-year-old son, Dawson, at the show.
“He loves fishing and just being outdoors,” Turner said.
He said being around outdoor equipment, including four-wheelers and dirt bikes, helps teach kids responsibility. Even under supervision, there are guidelines to be followed.
“It teaches them to follow directions,” he said.
Stowe agreed that outdoor activities are important for kids but had some advice for parents and other adults looking to get kids involved. He said he’d learned through his own children and grandchildren not to rush the process.
Some kids may not be interested in activities right away, and they might even be more interested in riding a four-wheeler than actually hunting or fishing. What matters, he said, is relaxing and helping the kids enjoy the outdoors.
“It really paid off being patient with the kids,” he said.