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Chicago outdoors: Show season preview

At least promoters will not have to worry about a playoff run by the Bears

impacting the outdoor show season this winter.

Any questions about the durability of outdoor shows in the Chicago market

in the Internet era were answered during the historic winter of 2013-14. Every

weekend, from the first in January through early March, had some form of

nasty travel weather, yet shows endured.

A few changes and tweaks come for the 2015 show season.

As usual, the All-Canada Show will kick off the season at Pheasant Run,

beginning Jan. 8. The first change is the same weekend. The Chicago Muskie

Show is history; but the MUSKIE EXPO Chicago comes to the Sears Centre

Arena on Jan. 9-11.

I am so happy that the three big January shows will not overlap this year.

The “Boat Show,’’ the Progressive Chicago Boat, RV and Strictly Sail Show, as the name implies, combines two shows and moves to the bigger South Hall

at McCormick Place, Jan. 14-18.

Rosemont is again scheduled for the top all-round outdoors show. The

Chicago Outdoor Sports Show is Jan. 21-25 at the Stephens Convention

Center. That Cook County anomaly–the Chicagoland Gun Show–is scheduled

to be colocated that Friday-Sunday.

What has quickly become the big show, one of the major fishing shows in

the country, the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo (photo above),

is Jan. 29-Feb. 1 at the Schaumburg Convention Center. Out of its all-star fishing

lineup–national and local–I most look forward to Mark Zona, who combines

national and local (hello Homewood).

The Tinley Park Fishing and Outdoor Show, which has become the anchor show

in the market, is Feb. 7-8.

A couple other changes should be noted. The Hammond show will not be held

this year and the Chicago Maritime Festival has made moved to

The Old Town School of Folk Music and a later date, April 18.

Speaking of dates, fishermen will need to juggle on March 7 when the Indoor

Fishing Flea Market; the Salmon Unlimited Swap Meet; Illinois Smallmouth

Alliance’s Bronzeback Blowout and the inaugural Lake Michigan School with

Capt. Ralph Steiger will all be held.

I will post a master list of all shows within a drive of a few hours, including

the one-day gatherings, on the Sun-Times online outdoors page and have

the usual weekly note as they roll around over the next four months.

It’s that time.