The Great American Outdoor Show is coming back to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.  

This NRA-sponsored event runs Saturday through Feb. 9.  It has been dubbed the world’s largest outdoor consumer event, boasting more than 1,100 outdoor vendors and shooting related products, then another 400 hunting outfitters and fishing boat captains lending their expertise.  

Among the additional attractions this year will be the 2020 National Archery in the Schools 3D State Tournament, where more than 250 students from across the state will be competitively shooting bows, in the Farm Show’s large arena.

“Students from the Line Mountain Area School District and 20 other schools will be competing that day,” said Meagan Thorpe, from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. 

Thorpe helped organize a special all-female hunter-trapper education course, on Saturday which filled all 50 seats within the first two days of registration. A second more traditional hunter-trapper education certification course will run Feb. 8. Registration is still open at www.pgc.state.pa.us

Another main attraction is the Dock Dogs Competition. There are four challenges for the furry athletes to compete in: The Big Air Wave, where the dogs perform a long jump, dive and retrieve maneuver; Extreme Vertical, a high jump competition; The Speed Retrieve, a timed swim race; and finally Dueling Dogs, which is speed retrieve done with two dogs going head to head. 

The Great American Outdoor Show also features a large indoor 3D archery range. This is open to participate in for fun or as a competition.

 If you’re going for fun, you can wander the simulated woods and take aim at some creatures you may never seen in a natural hunt.  In the competition, you’ll stand on a central perch as you pick off the obscured 3D targets. 

A special addition to this show is the NRA Country Concert. This year, artists performing are Chris Janson with Jon Langston and Jacob Bryant.  Chris Janson has had several No. 1 hits over the last several years including “Buy Me a Boat” and “Good Vibes” and has won an ACM award.  

Catherine Mortensen, media liaison for the NRA, points out that this is more than a sportsman event. 

“In years past, $250,000 has been raised to give back to central PA organizations,” she said. “This is done a few different ways, but among two standouts is the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writer’s Association 38th Annual Sportsman Auction, which benefits education programs. The other is the Friends of the NRA Banquet, which includes auctions and speakers encouraging and educating about the Second Amendment.”

A variety of kid-centric activities will be included via the “Eddie Eagle” kids zone.  

“In the zone there is face painting, basketball, safety training, wildlife classes and best of all prizes,” said Mortensen. “Kids, though, will have a blast on the main floor with all the animal mounts and exhibitions like the HAWG Tank, a giant clear tank where you can watch the fish react to different lures — or just watch them swim for fun.”

The show runs 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Feb. 8 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 9.

Entrance into the show comes free with NRA membership. Otherwise, admission tickets can be purchased at www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org at a cost of $15 for adults, $25 for a two-day pass, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $12 each for a group of 10 or more, $7 for a child ages 6-12 and $8 for a late-afternoon special. Parking in the main lots associated with the Farm Show Complex costs $10 per car. 

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