Although Dayton has had recent troubles attracting quality outdoor/boat shows in recent years, the first All-American Outdoor Show at the Airport Expo Center was well supported by area folks, enough to bring it back next year.
There is good news about the Dayton outdoor show that took place earlier this month at the Airport Expo Center in Vandalia. That good news concerned the first All-American Outdoor Show and more in the years ahead.
First, there will be an outdoor show next year with the dates already set at Feb. 10-12. That’s because the first AAOS did so well.
“Our attendance for the three days was right at 7,600,” said Rob Lynch, the show’s promoter who lives in Hamilton. “Frankly, I was hoping for anything north of 5,000, so I’m really happy with the turnout.”
Lynch said he has had plenty of positive feedback, both during and after the show.
“I actually had people tracking me down during the show to tell me how much they liked the show,” Lynch said, “and I had 47 emails the day after the show, people telling me how much fun they had; their wives and kids, too. I’ve been doing shows for a long time and I can’t ever remember having this much positive feedback after a show.”
I also got some instant reactions to the show. As I entered, I stopped to ask several people who were exiting how they liked the show. The praise was unanimous.
Next year’s show will be back at the Airport Expo Center. The airport had announced it was closing the center and would use it for storage.
Apparently Lynch, who also promotes the Cincinnati-Dayton RV Expo there, and show sponsor WHIO convinced the airport people to keep it open for those shows. The 2017 RV show is scheduled for the week before the outdoor expo.
Lynch said he didn’t anticipate many changes, but there will be a few. He wants more fishing tackle and hunting supplies.
Lynch knew when he decided to do last weekend’s show that it would be a task to host any kind of boat/outdoor show in the Dayton market. At one time, Dayton had one of the best boat shows in the state. Then an outdoor show joined the mix. One year there were three shows in the Dayton area.
Dayton once had a good reputation back in the days of the boat shows at Hara and Jim Robey’s Journal Herald fishing shows, but then came the bad economy and a series of below-average shows with like turnouts. People didn’t come out and say it, but Dayton and outdoor shows didn’t mix. Last year was the biggest fiasco of all. There was a show planned, but then it was canceled a few weeks before it was supposed to take place.
“We knew the Dayton market would have to be retrained,” Lynch said. “We felt if we put on a quality show, people would come. Next year we’d like to improve (attendance) 30 percent and then 20 percent the year after that. We figure attendance will top out somewhere over 12,000.”
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