Expo to capture on economic engine in Niagara County

Fishing, outdoor activities highlighted at expo

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) - Thousands of nature enthusiasts are heading to Niagara Falls from Friday through Sunday. The Cataract City is hosting a major expo with a focus on fishing, hunting and other outdoor sports.

Organizers expect 15,000 people to attend the Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoors Expo, which takes place at the Conference and Event Center in Niagara Falls.

The goals of the expo is to give vendors a chance to connect with clients in western New York and to educate the public about outdoor sports, which has a huge economic impact.

Sport fishing brings in $30 million annually to Niagara County, according to a 2010 study. This expo is a chance to drive attention to Niagara County.

"Traditionally, this is a slow time of the year," explained Bill Hilts, an Outdoor Specialist for the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation. "This is January in western New York, so the big focus is to try to educate people."

The expo will include more than 120 seminars and 100 vendor booths.

Vendors say it is also a big opportunity for them. "It's a huge economic impact and we'd like to educate more people to become ambassadors of what we have here in western New York," said Don Rupert with Okuma Fishing.

Rupert adds that vendors "recognize the region as a whole as one of the premiere fresh water fisheries in the area."

While much of the expo is geared towards adults and professionals, organizers also want it to be a family friendly event.

Scott Brauer, with Maki Plastic in Gasport, has set up multiple activities for children, including the chance to simulate ice-fishing on dry land. Brauer explains he wanted kids to have "the opportunity to get to give them the feeling of experiencing what it would be like on the ice without having to be there on the ice."

The expo runs Friday, January 23rd from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, January 24th from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, January 25th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets cost $8 for adults. However, adults can also buy admission for three-days for $20. Children younger than 10-years-old can get in for free.

For more information go to Great Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo's website.

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