(Sept. 6, 2019) More than 100 vendors will display hunting and fishing merchandise during the inaugural Sportsman Expo, this weekend at the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street.
Organizers Josh Parente, who lives in Canada, and George Makres, a Maryland native, have been friends for years and enjoy hunting and fishing. Both also enjoy traveling to Ocean City and realized there was not an event available for people who like outdoor activities.
“We’ve got a pretty good array for both the hunters and the [fishermen] and pretty much anyone who is an outdoorsman, which is kind of our crown jewel for this whole entire expo,” Parente said. “It’s one big weekend for outdoorsmen and their whole family.”
Brands available range from Cabela’s Outfitters, Sea Tow, Altera, Yeti, Outdoor Dreaming, Red Beard Sailing and dozens more. Also planning to attend the event are representatives from the Boy Scouts of America, the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Ford Motors.
There will also be four or five boat dealers on site as well, Parente said.
“One of the main goals of our show is to focus on loving the outdoors and conservation,” Makres said. “It’s really raising awareness of preserving and really focusing on the joy and enjoyment that you get from being outside.”
In addition to activities for hunters, fishermen and women and outdoor outdoorsmen, the expo will offer events for children to participate in as well.
Children can cast into a giant tank, which includes medal fish to catch, as well as learn about conservation, waterfowl and other aspects of nature from representatives from the Ward Museum of Salisbury.
“Kids will have the opportunity to paint decoys as well … little Mallard decoys, which is pretty fun as well,” Makres said. “It’s something the whole family can come and enjoy.”
Makres and Parente are looking forward to the response from the community of the new event.
“We love Ocean City. We love coming here,” Parente said. “We really want to bring and make this a staple expo for years to come. That’s our goal. We want to bring the best brands and the best vendors to the shore because this is one of our favorite towns to come and visit all the time, and we really want to give this community a great experience for years to come.”
“Ocean City has been so accommodating so far and [we wanted to] really give back to the community and put something on that entire fishing, hunting and outdoors community can come and enjoy,” Makres said. “That’s important to us.”
Makres and Parente already have big plans for future expos, depending on the success of the inaugural event, including adding an indoor concert.
“We’re also putting a big push behind giving back to veteran-owned companies,” Makres said. “We have about five veteran-owned companies that are going to be there, and that’s something that’s very important to us. We wanted to make sure that we gave back to them and gave them an opportunity to show all of their great products.”
There are four ticket tiers for the event. A single-day pass will cost $12. For children 12 and under, as well as service men and women, the single day pass will cost $8. General admission for a weekend pass is $15 and $10 for children under 12 and service men and women.
Hours are Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
By purchasing a ticket, participants will also be entered to win a free two-day hunt with Schrader’s Outdoors. The winner will be announced on Saturday at the expo.
For more information, visit OC Sportsman Expo on Facebook and Instagram, or visit www.ocmdsportsmanexpo.com.