The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 24, 2013

Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show postponed in wake of gun flap

The Daily Item

— HARRISBURG — With more than 300 vendors and nearly 50 speakers pulling out of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, Reed Exhibitions announced Thursday it is postponing one of the nation’s largest outdoors shows, which was scheduled to open next week in Harrisburg.

In the wake of shooting at Newtown, Conn., last month, Reed Exhibitions decided to limit the products gun vendors could show or sell at the event.

“Our original decision not to include certain products in the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show this year was made in order to preserve the event’s historical focus on the hunting and fishing traditions enjoyed by American families,” said Chet Burchett, Reed Exhibitions President for the Americas, in a statement on Thursday morning. “In the current climate, we felt that the presence of MSRs would distract from the theme of hunting and fishing, disrupting the broader experience of our guests. This was intended simply as a product decision, of the type event organizers need to make every day.”

“It has become very clear to us after speaking with our customers that the event could not be held because the atmosphere of this year’s show would not be conducive to an event that is designed to provide family enjoyment. It is unfortunate that in the current emotionally charged atmosphere this celebratory event has become overshadowed by a decision that directly affected a small percentage of more than 1,000 exhibits showcasing products and services for those interested in hunting and fishing.

“ESS has long been proud to participate in the preservation and promotion of hunting and fishing traditions, and we hope that as the national debate clarifies, we will have an opportunity to consider rescheduling the event when the time is right to focus on the themes it celebrates.”

More than 1,200 vendors participate in the annual show, which is held at the Harrisburg Farm Show building. It routinely attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the country.