La. Sportsman Show and Festival draws thousands to Lamar-Dixon

Halen Doughty

Thousands came from far and wide to attend the Louisiana Sportsman Show and Festival at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center over the weekend. Roughly 300 exhibitors offered every product imaginable for hunting, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors.

Event director Jack Fisher said the show boasts about half a million square feet of products and services on display. The spread started on one side with the boat show before moving into the tractors, atvs, and four buildings filled with hunting and fishing equipment.

The show has not always been held in Ascension Parish. It was formerly hosted in the Superdome until the devastation of Hurricane Katrina forced the move. Event staff found the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center and thought it would be the perfect locale for the event.

"Gonzales is so centrally located in South Louisiana that it's been a good location to have a show," said Fisher.

Lamar-Dixon has welcomed show guests for the past 12 years of the show's 39 year history. Fisher said they just revived the Superdome show last year. The event is now held in Gonzales in March and again in New Orleans in July. He said the Gonzales show is getting bigger and better every year.

"People are coming from all over the world really," said Fisher. "We have exhibitors from Africa, Alaska, Central America, all over the United States, and lots of local resident exhibitors too."

While the boat show is always a big hit, Fisher said people also enjoy the entertainment at the festival. Guests have plenty of food and drink options with two different food courts set up on site. Live musicians perform throughout the weekend, and the pet-friendly event hosts plenty of dog-related entertainment as well.

But it's the innovative products on display that draw people from across South Louisiana to the annual event. Fisher said even if attendees don't plan to purchase anything, the show is a great place for people to check out the latest and greatest products the market has to offer.

"There's a lot of exhibitors out here that have just invented a better mouse trap, and they're trying to get it in front of the public, things that have never been seen anywhere," said Fisher.

Fisher said when they open the gates at noon each day, there were already hundreds of people lined up to get in. He said during the four-day event, they welcome around 30,000 people through the gates. While rain was in the forecast during the weekend, Fisher noted that with hundreds of thousands of square feet for indoor exhibits, weather isn't a huge factor in turnout.

"Actually, the crowds are normally good when it rains," said Fisher. "They can't go fishing, they can't work in their yards, so they come over here."

Fisher said they appreciate how the Gonzales community has embraced the show and look forward to growing it even more in the years to come.

See all of Halen's photos from this year's show here.

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