Gun and hobby show back and better than ever

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

The Fort Frances Gun and Hobby Show is back at the Fort Frances Curling Club this weekend and organizer Scott Stafford says there will be more exhibitors than ever.

Stafford says the Fort Frances Gun and Hobby Show was started in 2008 by he and his wife Tasha at the Devlin Hall.

“We had three shows in Barwick before we outgrew the Community Hall venue and started looking for a bigger venue,” said Stafford. “I talked with Rick Grenda at the Fort Frances Curling Club and he was very open to having a show, so we moved to that venue in 2011.”

The last two years, Stafford and his wife put on small shows from their garage at home with COVID restrictions in place.

“Just to have a gun show every year — we wanted to have that continuity,” Stafford said. “This will be our 15th annual gun show.”

Stafford says he and his family used to enjoy travelling to different shows for fun. They started the show because he saw a gap where there wasn’t one nearby in the District.

“It was all around us — Thunder Bay had gun shows, Dryden had gun shows, Kenora had gun shows and of course Winnipeg and west have lots,” Stafford said. “But this little local area down here has a lot of outdoor people, a lot of hunters and target shooters but nobody knew what a gun show was.”

When Stafford and his wife decided to start the event, they had some ideas of what they wanted to have at their own show.

“Because we had gone to so many previously, we had some things that we decided we would like to incorporate into our show,” Stafford said. “One of them is a kid’s corner, no other show offers a kid’s corner like we do.”

The previous record for exhibitors and vendors at the show was 96, and Stafford says they have 100 signed up for Saturday.

“Really, COVID hasn’t slowed down the hobby any,” Stafford said. “There’s still lots of interest in the guns and all the different hobbies that surround them.”

This year’s show will include many different booths. In addition to weapons and hunting equipment, there will be baked goods, arts and crafts, and other items for sale. There will also be a canteen.

The show runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is five dollars and free for those under five with an adult.