For the days of July 22-24, Orangeville, Ontario was the host for the latest Huntfest. Hosted by Wild TV, this Huntfest in was held at the Orangeville Agricultural Society building at 247090 5 Sideroad, Mono, Ontario. This building is commonly the home of a local gun show held and organized every few months by Mrs. Monica Wright. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the concept of Huntfest, it is an event which is used by the hunting industry to promote themselves and their new products. It is also a venue for dealers and retailers to sell their wares to the public. It was quite a surprise to the author when the location was slated to host a Huntfest!
Now as a father of two small children under the age of 6, the author is very hard pressed to actually have the time to actually view any Wild TV programming, so TPF cannot comment on the programming, advertising and general appeal of Wild TV. The author does however applaud the decision to hold such an event in Ontario due to the fact that the only level of hunting/sporting event similar in format would be that of the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show and their “Hunting Hall”. Yet that is more of a giant retailer sale than a showcase opportunity. As usual the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) was there to promote shooting sports, help educate firearms owners, and of course gather additional memberships. Other organizations such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and the National Firearms Association (NFA) were in attendance as well.
The days of the Huntfest were the hottest days in recent history with temperatures making the he facility nearly unbearable for exhibitors yet they did persevere. The author was pleased to attend and help represent the CSSA during the entire show and was fortunate to be working the booth alongside Canada’s number one firearms lobbyist, Mr. Tony Bernardo. Admittedly, due to the layout, the Laser Shot game was mainly the author’s responsibility and as always being able to bring smiles to the faces of people of all ages is well worth the time and effort of such events. Both the very young and the elderly were attracted to the minute or so of relief that the game provided during which the oppressing heat was forgotten. Literally hundreds of individuals stopped by, some repeatedly, to test their skills at Laser Shot. Mr. Bernardo’s speaking and enthusiasm was a constant reminder of how knowledgeable, dedicated , and committed the man is to fighting for the rights of the Canadian Firearms Community. Be it a single individual or a group of them, Tony was his usual informative and enthusiastic self, describing the latest United Nations news and how the CSSA benefits its members, the community and firearms owners as a whole. Just talk to him and you will understand why the author believes that the CSSA is at the top of the pile for pro-firearms organizations in Canada.
During the infrequent lulls between droves of people attending the show, TPF was able to make a few rounds about the facilities and see what was going on and the general overview of Huntfest in Orangeville. This Huntfest was originally supposed to be a grand endeavour with hundreds of companies in attendance but by the end of setup on the scorching Thursday night, there was much rumblings about a lack of participation. This was obvious as the lower than expected exhibitor attendance resulted in some areas of the building being unused. Opening day on Friday was a lack lustre event which was determined to be a poor turnout with some of those TPF talked to. Combined with an extended Friday closing time with nearly zero consumer attendance and many exhibitors were already unhappy with the choice of venue for this iteration of Huntfest. However, the following two days showed far more improvement with many attending exhibitors acknowledging that by the end of the event they were satisfied, if not beaming with the results. On Sunday, just prior to the close of the event, much of that Friday evening dismay had been reversed and the exhibitors and vendors were far more upbeat and positive in their overview of Orangeville’s Huntfest.
For those that are still wondering, the concept of Huntfest is to create an opportunity for consumers to come to a single location and not only see what is available in the Canadian Marketplace, but to find out how to get those products or even acquire then at the event. Huntfest has been described as a trade show and to a certain point it is. Manufacturers attend to display their range of available products and showcase their newest ones, while dealers and retailers of these products are in attendance to support the consumer, that being the attendees. Companies such as Savage Arms, Scorpion Optics, and Trade Ex Canada Inc, took such an opportunity and showcased some of their products and wares. Local dealers/retailers as also in attendance with their wares available for attendees to purchase, some even at lower than store sticker price. Archery, hunting, camouflage apparel, calls, tools, guns and the remaining spectrum of hunting products were on display at the three day event. Add in reptile exhibits, falconry shows and a slew of presenters for in-person seminars and music concert and Wild TV’s Huntfest, Orangeville had everything that the outdoors man, sport shooter, hunter, and hiker could ever need. TPF was proud to be a small part of the event and look forwards to future ones should they occur.
While the author wanted to take numerous photographs and give the readers a visual representation of the quality and variety of exhibitors that were at Huntfest, it was literally too busy for more than small jaunts across the facility for a quick minute or two of discussion before the next rush came in at the CSSA booth. However, we do have some images from nearby events and have included them here for your viewing pleasure.
Wild TV’s Huntfest – Orangeville 2011 may not have been a great success that organizers were hoping for, but if the final days of attendance was an indication, it may very well continue and grow in Ontario’s future. Hopefully next time the weather co-operates and the advertising efforts bring in far more exhibitors and attendees.
Rating of Wild TV’s Huntfest – Orangeville 2011 is a little different than usual for TPF in that:
Is Huntfest, Orangeville 2011
Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical? Great!, Decent event, Needs work, or Complete fail?
That is up to you, the readers, and specifically those that attended the event to determine. Please contact Huntfest Organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know what you think they need to improve and make the show more successful.
Special thanks goes out to Chris Anderson who stopped by and felt that TPF was worth interviewing a second time, the first which occured during the EESA open house. As an originator of Canadian Reload Radio, Mr. Anderson was part of the first Canadian firearms online podcast created, and has since branched off as part of their network of firearms related podcasts. It is high praise indeed when Mr. Tony Bernardo believed that Mr. Anderson is one of the best interviewers that he has encountered due to his thoroughness and preparedness for interviews.