NRA picked as organizer of Harrisburg outdoor show - abc27 WHTM

NRA picked as organizer of Harrisburg outdoor show

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NRA President David Keene announcing the Great America Outdoor Show NRA President David Keene announcing the Great America Outdoor Show

The National Rifle Association announced Tuesday that it will be the organizer of Harrisburg's outdoor show beginning next year.

The renamed Great American Outdoor Show will debut February 1 -9, 2014 at the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.

NRA President David Keene says it "will be greatest show ever," and vowed to make it a massive national expo including events such as a country music concert and visits from national celebrities. 

He said the nine-day event will focus on families and continue to feature exhibits on shooting, hunting, fishing, camping and boating but will now include seminars, demonstrations and evening entertainment. 

"I can't contain my excitement for today," said Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste adding that the new show will "rock your socks off."

Keene said the NRA will expand the event by inviting national firearm manufacturers to join the more than 1,000 hunting, fishing, and camping related vendors as well as outfitters from around the world. 

He said the organization made a seven-figure investment in the show and promises to hold the annual event long-term. The NRA's current contract is for two years with extensions built in.

Keene said he finds Harrisburg an attractive location because of the venue, space and the region's love of outdoors. He said the organization's number one concern at this time is parking. 

The NRA was selected from 16 other groups during a national search to replace Reed Exhibitions, the company that canceled the former Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show earlier this year following controversy over its decision to limit the sale and display of military-style semi-automatic rifles.

More than 200 vendors had pulled out of the show before it was canceled.

Officials have said the cancellation of the 65-year tradition cost the region an estimated $88 million in lost business.

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