No Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show this weekend? No problem. Unlike the empty Farm Show Complex, Bass Prop Shops hopes to be filled with outdoor enthusiasts.
With a video game shotgun in hand, Annette Shoff tried her hand at shooting targets inside Bass Pro Shops. Shoff planned on going to this year's Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg.
"I was disappointed we weren't going to have it anymore," said Shoff, "but at the same time there's nothing we can really do about it."
Reed Exhibitions pulled the plug on the outdoor show due to the controversy that followed its decision to ban military-style firearms from this year's event. Ironically, Shoff was eager to attend the outdoor show to gain more knowledge on the weapons.
"I wanted to learn more about guns, gun safety," she said. "I can't do that, now."
Actually, you can. Shoff was excited to hear Bass Pro Shops would have their own week-long outdoor event as an alternative to the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. Many vendors who planned to attend the annual event will now set up shop inside Bass Pro.
"Yes, I'll have to attend that," said Shoff.
General store manager James O'Brien said when Reed Exhibitions "postponed" their event, he immediately thought of the non-profit groups who rely on business.
"[We wanted] to give them an avenue to have their booths and talk to customers and folks that come to the store," he said.
O'Brien said the Bass Pro event will be free for vendors and attendees. However, if an Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show ticket refund is still required, there are instructions at easternsportshow.com.
Bass Pro Shops was not planning on being an exhibitor at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show and remains silent on any controversial issue. O'Brien just wants a place for sporting fans to share memories and talk shop.
"It's a lot of work put into it," he said. "I'm going to try to make it as big as we can."