Monday, August 26, 2019

Deer and Beer Fest Rivals Fish and Feather Expo

This past weekend organizers opened the doors to the first annual Deer and Beer Fest held at the Interstate Center/ McLean County Fairgrounds.  "We planned this show in Bloomington for the same reason the Deer and Turkey Classic existed here successfully for so long. It’s roughly within an hour drive or less to Peoria, Springfield and Champaign." said Cole Thompson, event organizer.  While I know many people from these cities attended this fest, I also got word from our Chicago area readers that they took the trip down to enjoy a beautiful weekend talking hunting, fishing and the great outdoors as well.

Pumped and ready to start the show!
I've been to several great hunting and fishing shows across the country and in my opinion the Deer and Beer Fest competed with some of the best outdoor shows in Illinois.  Granted it's no SHOT SHOW or ICAST but, the atmosphere and energy was the same.  Not only from attendees but from the vendors themselves looked pumped and ready to go. There is already talk about expanding next year's show to include vendors outside throughout the other parts of the fairground.  "The McLean County Fairgrounds has over 100 acres of outdoor space with 50,000 sq ft indoors, and a 20,000sq ft pavilion area. There’s all kinds of opportunity for growth at this facility" said Thompson.

While many of us are used to our hunting and fishing shows in the winter, August is the month of cabin fever for hunters and that's why it was a great month for the show.   "Hunting season is right around the corner. Hunters are gearing up and ready to spend some cash on what they need or don’t need" said Thompson.  Although shows during the summer may not grow in the hunting community, maybe fishing shows will try this and see how it works on their end.

Attendees had the opportunity to win lots of goodies

As I walked in, it looked like any other show, however like the Energizer Bunny, rows kept going and going.  These rows were filled with quality products along with non-profits and businesses promoting their ideas and chasing the American dream.  Although many attendees came for the great deals on their hunting products, others came for the Big Buck Contest and Trophies of Grace did not disappoint. Luke Brewster's World Record Buck, harvested in Illinois, was also in attendance. Let me just say..WOW.   Nope- not putting a picture up of that monster, because like a sunset or sunrise, it's better in person, trust me!

Just some of the amazing deer on show from Trophies of Grace
If you missed this year don't worry! They'll be back and I'm excited as can be to see how this show grows.  However, I'm a little disappointed in one thing, no gutter guard companies at the show.  I mean, what's an outdoor show without them there?  Just in case some of you can't tell, that's sarcasm.  In all seriousness, this show met and exceeded my expectations and you should plan to take the whole family next year.

I applaud all the workers and vendors for making this an amazing show.   Makes sure to check them out the Deer and Beer Fest on Facebook.  SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

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