Inside the outdoor show

When you are affected with cabin fever, holed up like an underwater beaver or a wintertime woodchuck, it is time to put on your boots, get out, brave the weather and see what's about, and then find some fun at an outdoor show. The southern Adirondacks Outdoorsman Show can be found at the Moose Lodge again Feb. 16 and 17. Yes, I'll be there again at this popular Johnstown show, now in its eighth year, autographing my Adirondack books. The show, created by Mike Hauser of Twin Cities Sports Promotions, provides a winter gathering for sportsmen, hunters, anglers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The 2013 show again features those active in the outdoor circles. My latest book, "Adirondack People and Places," will be one of the four featured guest promotions, along with bigfoot researcher Brian Gosselin, record holder fisherman Chuck Booker, and author Alice Peck with her new book on "Peck's Lake in the Adirondacks." As they say, it is a good time to meet and greet.

There is something for everyone at outdoor shows. Vendors come from all over with a wide variety of wares. Past shows have featured dogs (kids love them), trail foods, books, newspapers, tackle, hunting equipment, guide services, resort and outdoor attractions, log cabins, rustic furniture, leather goods, boats, camping gear, unique outdoor products, toys, etc. Young and old, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen fill the aisles at the outdoor shows.

One of the main features of the outdoor gatherings is to interact with one another. There is no end to the comradeship, the meeting of old friends, the family time, making new friends, and supporting the outdoor merchants. The visiting and chattering with each other fills the hall, and a good time is had by all. Good food is available on site and the seminars feed the brain with new learnings. Winning a raffle adds to the fun before the day is done. And, a little known advantage at an outdoor show is that the vendors and exhibitors get to interact with each other, assess the offerings, generate new ideas, and create a positive outdoor business climate.

Outdoor shows abound in the Adirondack country and have found their niche in the Adirondack experience. My first outdoor show of memory was the Amsterdam Sportsman Show in the 1940s and I have made them part of my life ever since. Where else could you find hunting, fishing, archery, trapping, boating, camping, hiking, snowshoeing, guides and charter services, taxidermy, collectable knives, firearms, antique hunting and fishing equipment, seminars, wildlife art and books, and Adirondack furniture under one roof?

You never know what you might see at an Adirondack outdoor show. When I went to my first show, little did I know that it would be a historical meeting with Noah John Rondeau, the Adirondack hermit. He was seated on a stage surrounded by his pack basket, snowshoes, fishing pole and furs. His long white beard gave him the appearance of Santa Claus, which pleased the children who attended the show. He invited everyone to come closer and he visited quietly with those who would listen. One little girl climbed on his lap and talked with him. I became quite interested in the dollar bills generous donators were throwing into his pack basket. (Maybe I should try that sometime, I have a white beard and a good pack basket.) That day at the outdoor show gave me a cherished Adirondack lifetime memory.

DON WILLIAMS was born and raised in the Adirondacks. He is a retired Gloversville school principal and magazine author. He lives in Gloversville.