When attendees start pouring into the University of Maine field house on Friday afternoon for the 76th Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show, they’ll find all kinds of surprises.
Chief among those: The field house itself has undergone a complete overhaul. Visitors will instantly notice how bright and colorful the refurbished facility is, and will surely be impressed.
Exhibitors — the BDN included — also will likely unveil some new offerings this year.
The show runs 4-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m-8 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for those ages 12 and older, free for those younger than 12. A bracelet that covers admission for all three days is $15.
The BDN has staffed a booth for more than a decade: This marks the 12th straight year that our outdoor staffers will be on hand to chat with the crowd and talk about the outdoors.
This year we’ve tinkered with our approach, and are excited to see what you think.
The first difference you might see at our booth is very exciting to those of us who have toiled over our stand-alone BDN Maine Outdoors publication for the past two years. Until now, the quarterly publication has been a tabloid-sized product printed on high-grade newsprint.
It was good, we thought. But it wasn’t exactly what we had in mind as our end goal.
Our Spring 2014 edition, hot off the presses late last week, is much closer to what we envisioned when we started brainstorming ideas and visions for the product.
This issue, our eighth, will be the first that’s a full-fledged, glossy magazine. We handed out a few hundred copies at last weekend’s Cabin Fever Reliever in Brewer, and readers enjoyed the new, modern look.
In the coming weeks, you can find the Spring 2014 issue on newsstands, and at Maine tourism kiosks around the state.
Or, you can just stop by the show this weekend and we’ll give you a copy.
We’re also happy to share space at our booth again this year. Last year we served as host to Bassmaster Classic participant Jonathan Carter, and plenty of people stopped by to congratulate him on his success.
This year, we’re welcoming three Maine authors to our booth. They’ll be on hand at different times throughout the weekend, and will have books to sell and sign.
Why share our space with the authors?
Well, we here at the BDN are not only writers… we’re readers, too. We’re always on the lookout for storytellers who can inspire, entertain or inform.
And at the show, you’ll meet three people who do just that.
First up, from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, will be BDN blogger George Smith. Smith recently released “A Life Lived Outdoors: Reflections of a Maine Sportsman.”
In what should be a real treat for attendees, we’ve lined up Randy Spencer for two times slots during which he’ll be glad to talk to folks about his new book, “Wide and Deep: Tales and Recollections from a Master Maine Fishing Guide.” Spencer’s book isn’t even available in stores yet, but he got his publisher, Skyhorse Publishing Co., to ship him some copies that he’ll unveil for the Orono crowd.
Spencer will be at our BDN booth from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, and noon-2 p.m. Sunday.
Our final author is D. Dauphinee, who wrote “Stoneflies & Turtleheads” and “The River Home.” Dauphinee is an interesting guy who has traveled the world in search of adventure, and attendees will be impressed by his books. He’ll be at our booth from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday.
BDN blogger Robin Follette of Robin’s Outdoors also plans to stop by the booth for a while on Saturday to chat with readers. We expect her sometime around 11 a.m.
Finally, regular visitors to the show might want to sign up for our annual “Win a Drift Boat Trip” contest. This year’s trip will take place on June 15, and one lucky angler will join me and Dan Legere, owner of the Maine Guide Fly Shop, for a fantastic day floating the East Outlet of the Kennebec River. Entry into the contest is free, but you’ve got to be 18 years old to win.