From fishing trout out of a massive tub to hunting guides and kids activities, the Grays Harbor Outdoor Expo has a little for everyone who’s outdoorsy at the Shoppes at Riverside mall this today and Sunday. The expo is free to the public, and runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. torday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Shoppes at Riverside.
Since starting out as a northwest events expo a few years ago, the event soon began focusing on outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, and general exploring, to match the interest in outdoor opportunities around the Harbor. The expo has a wide range of other booths for things like roofing, Grays Harbor tourist information and areas for live music. This year’s expo has grown substantially, up from around 45 vendors last year to 60 this time, mall manager Joe Madding said.
One new addition is a beer garden in the mall’s community room, just east of the center stage, which is run by PAWS of Grays Harbor and features beer from Aberdeen’s Steam Donkey Brewery. Proceeds from the beer garden will go toward helping PAWS, a no-kill animal shelter in Grays Harbor County.
There’s also a new section of vendors catering to women, as part of the ladies day section of vendors for Sunday that includes skincare products, toddler and infant clothing, and more. The first 100 women to arrive Sunday will receive “swag bags” of gifts from vendors, said Donna Rossi from Alpha Media, which is a main sponsor for the expo along with several local radio stations, Grays Harbor Tourism and the Shoppes at Riverside.
As in previous years, the Cabela’s outdoor recreation company will run a large artificial fishing pond, where visitors can catch their own trout for free to take home. The company will also have an inflatable tent set up where children can do target shooting with BB guns, and an archery station, Madding said.
Elsewhere, a small area will be roped off where children can bring their bicycles to ride around.
A few guest speakers for subjects like tutorials on fishing and hunting, gun safety and outdoor survival, will present at the main stage area, near the center of the mall.
The expo also has fishing and hunting guides, who can show novices how to get into it and where to go.
“If you’re going steelhead fishing and you’re not familiar with it, they’ll take you to the best spots, they’re going to catch it for you, essentially, hook it, and then hand you the reel and say, ‘Here, pull it in,’” said Madding.