Arizona Game and Fish Department‚Äôs Outdoor Expo ‚Äì the state‚Äôs largest free outdoor expo ‚Äìset an all-time attendance record.
A ‚ÄúYouth Day‚Äù experience also was offered March 24 that attracted 1,800 students, teachers and chaperones, bringing this year‚Äôs three-day total to a record 48,400. The previous record was 48,000 in 2015.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre not aware of any other event of this scale that combines conservation, recreation and industry into such a welcoming environment for the public,‚Äù said Scott Lavin, the department‚Äôs wildlife recreation branch chief. ‚ÄúThis is where people can find plenty of hands-on activities, test and purchase the latest equipment and products, and connect with social organizations that can provide countless ‚Äònext step‚Äô experiences to support their outdoor passions.‚Äù
The expo features everything from wildlife exhibits and family fishing tanks, to kayaking at the 90,000-gallon ‚ÄúLake Paddlemore‚Äù and trying out firearms in a safe, controlled environment on the range. There also are many opportunities for visitors to check out more than 150 exhibitors, including sportsmen and conservation organizations, recreational shooting groups, government agencies and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.
Since 2007, the expo traditionally has been scheduled for the last weekend in March. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the ‚ÄúOutdoor Expo.‚Äù The event previously was known as the ‚ÄúHunting and Shooting Showcase‚Äù from 2004 to 2006.
Next year‚Äôs expo is scheduled for March 24-25, 2018, at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Visit www.azgfd.gov/expo for more information.