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Spring is here, and so is the annual Outdoor Show

9:10 AM, Mar 11, 2012   |    comments
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For many Western New Yorkers, the annual Sport and Travel Expo is a harbinger of Spring, like the arrival of the first Robin or the call of a Spring Peeper. It's a tradition that has been going strong for over 20 years.

For show promoter Mark Concilla, it's much more than just tradition...you might say it's in his nature.

"We started 22 years ago, my father Sam started the company, and we started with one building," says Concilla. "We're now five buildings here on the Fairgrounds in Hamburg, and there is a lot of attractions and events; and a lot of different things going on in all five buildings this year!"

One of the reasons this show is always so anxiously anticipated is because of the great care taken to produce it. The promoters take pride in it being an "outdoor sports show produced by sportsmen."

"We really take the time to make sure the events have quality vendors," says Concilla. "We do say no to a lot of vendors who are looking to come in and turn it into a flea market, it's not this type of show. Sportsmen wait all year to come to this event because they will be able to talk to exhibitors and vendors from all over the world."

For the visitors, the show is a chance to get a look at a wide variety of new products from companies both large and small, or to help plan that next great wilderness adventure. For the outdoor entrepreneur, it's an opportunity to meet the public, and promote their product the old fashioned way.

Pennsylvanian George Cvijic is showcasing a versatile new hunter's seat.

"It's a replacement for any ground seat, but then it's also an animal drag as well, and it can be a tourniquet, it can be an arm sling, it can be a water rescue device."

Betsy and Chuck Kent travel from Wyoming County every year to attend.

"I like the person to person thing, I like to talk to people that might be involved, you get a good feel for people that way."

Patrick Flanagan of Syracuse was pitching his hand made Bass jigs, a lure he says no angler should be without.

"Kind of realized I had a really good idea, and everyone who's ever tried it has nothing but great things to say about it."

"It's very important to get name recognition," says Cvijic. "I believe get your name and product out to the public, and this is one of the many ways you can do it."

With hundreds of products and lots of interesting things to do, and thousands of Western New Yorkers eager to shake off cabin fever, this is one tradition that should continue for many years to come.

The Kents agree: "We've been doing this for a long long time, and we really enjoy talking to the different people."  

Concilla: "This is definitely an outdoor area, it's good to see, and we see a lot of familiar faces that come through the door every year...and a lot of new faces. "

The Travel And Sports Expo runs through Sunday March 11.

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