I figure it has been about 20 years since I last attended Game Fair in Anoka, Minnesota, so when the invite reached my desk to come back I was certainly anxious to check it out once again.
For those who are not familiar, Game Fair is the annual event held over two weekends each August to prime everyone’s pump, so to speak, for the fast-approaching hunting seasons. It’s an event celebrating guns, shooting, dogs and just about everything related to the shooting sports we all enjoy each fall. Situated on 80–acres of land containing woods and waters, the location provides all the sights, sounds and tactile pleasures that sportsmen associate with the best season of the year—fall.
I was amazed at all the changes that had occurred over the past 20 years. Now, with over 300 outdoor exhibitors from 28 states and provinces, this has easily tripled in size from what I last remember back from the mid ’90s. Duck and goose calls, decoys, dog equipment, home decor, you name it…if it appeals to the outdoors person it will likely be found at Game Fair.
I think the biggest purpose Game Fair serves annually is to scratch the itch many outdoors oriented people get about this time of the year. With big game seasons now happening in the western states in a matter of days, and seasons in many Midwestern states only weeks away, there’s nothing better than to rub elbows with like-minded folks who share the same passions of life.
Now, because Game Fair is rather visual, I think the best way to further explain the unique experience is with pictures(and captions).
When most people think of Game Fair they think of dogs–you’ll see just about all of the popular sporting breeds on display.
Indeed, dogs receive lots of attention at Game Fair.
Some dogs even put up with more attention than they care to receive. Ha!
But for sure, Game Fair is about enjoying the companionship sportsmen have with their canine partners.
Game Fair is one of the few events where bringing your dogs (on leash) is highly encouraged.
No dog? No problem. At Game Fair you can come without a dog and go home with a energetic puppy willing to provide years of love in your home.
Then again, some folks come just for the FREE dog training lessons taught by world renowned experts, like Tom Dokken.
Tom Dokken is truly one of the most generous guys sharing his time and experience to turn your pet into an obedient, capable partner.
So, you think your dog is already well trained? Prove it! Game Fair offers several events where your canine partner can prove they’re “Top Dog” in their field.
Some of these timed events give dog owners an opportunity to showcase just how good their canine partners will be performing this fall.
But sanctioned events aside, Game Fair is also an opportunity for dogs and their owners to socialize and just enjoy a late summer day.
Most folks, however, are content to walk the grounds and enjoy Game Fair without dogs.
They walk around enjoying all the exhibits and the great food.
A person just never knows what they might find checking out the exhibits.
It can range from someone hand lathing a new duck call from a chunk of wood….
To vendors selling 100s of different wild game calls where there is surely one to suit your needs.
All the way to vendors who want to ensure your home decor reminds you about your passion in the outdoors.
Quite honestly, Game Fair will somehow find a way to put a smile on your face. Guaranteed!
The event covers two weekends (Friday-Sunday) each August to allow 6 full days for fun.
Wildlife art has long been a part of Game Fair with some of the best artists in the world on display.
Best of all, Game Fair is an OUTDOOR event unlike many other shows held in stuffy convention centers surrounded by bricks and cement.
…So, bring your sunscreen or rain gear, depending on what the weather forecast promises for the day.
Game Fair also caters to kids as they are the future of our outdoors heritage. Supervised games that allow kids to put down their iPhones and pick up a slingshot, shotgun or bow are highly encouraged.
Indeed, Game Fair is often the place where kids discover shooting a slingshot is actually more fun than most smartphone apps.
Game Fair is also learning about the natural environment. You can talk to expert hunters, trappers, and conservation officers to get all of your outdoors questions answered.
It’s also a place to meet Master Falconers, like Frank Taylor, who has spent a lifetime working with these special birds of prey.
Game Fair’s new Birds of Prey display allows attendees to get an up close look at these marvelous birds.
Folks from the Minnesota Falconers Association share their love for these creatures and explain how this form of hunting has evolved over time.
Let’s not forget, Game Fair is also about hands-on shooting.
Game Fair allows hunters to touch and feel (and yes, shoot) some of the newest guns, bows and similar equipment currently on the market.
Game Fair also gives attendees an opportunity to visit with the masters who have skills that are at the top of the shooting world.
But let’s face it…people also like to come to Game Fair to eat.
And unlike most public events these days, the one comment I heard folks say is how fairly priced the food is at Game Fair.
After all, who likes to be price gouged when you’re trying to enjoy some cotton candy?
If you haven’t made plans yet to attend…it’s time to make tracks this coming weekend before it is all over again for another year.
For more information about Game Fair click HERE. This coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday (August 19-21) is the final weekend in 2016.