ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's the biggest & longest running, volunteer organized show in the country, and it's going all weekend long right in our area - the Annual Easter Maine Sportsmen's Show.
"Our research shows that we are the longest running, continuously running, all volunteer outdoor show in the country. And the key is because it's all volunteers. So all of the people in the organization really donate their time all weekend long to be here," says Tony Richard, President of the Penobscot County Conservation Association.
"We missed a few years during World War II, other than that we've run for seventy six years," says Lois Ann Holmes, a chairman of the PCCA.
Aside from those few years, the Eastern Maine Sportsmen's Show has been an annual event since the first show in 1933 at the old Bangor City Hall. Since that time it's been put on by a completely volunteer based staff from the Penobscot County Conservation Society. With more than 150 vendors, the show has virtually everything you need to take on outdoor sports all year round. It's no wonder why it's referred to as the "true essence of Maine."
"We have exhibitors that come down from the northern part of the state, from the western part of the state, from the southern part of the state, and even people from out of state. You can see a lot in one day," says Holmes.
"If you like to hike or if you like to snow shoe or fish or hunt or climb mountains, whatever you like to do, there's an opportunity to see something here," says Richard.
The event has gotten so big, it needed to be moved to the University of Maine Field House in the 1980's just to accommodate everyone.
Holmes says, "We needed space! And the University of Maine has been just so cooperative with us and very helpful to let us grow here."
The pride of being a part of something this long lasting makes the hard work worth it, but it's the joy the event brings that keeps the volunteers coming back.
"I feel very honored and very proud to be able to serve the state of Maine as a member of Penobscot County Conservation Association to lead the front to teach families how to enjoy the outdoors," says Holmes.
This year's Eastern Maine Sportsmen's Show will last through Sunday afternoon, and no day will be the same. Friday night it will run until 9 o'clock but you can also come Saturday any time from 9 to 8 and Sunday from 9 to 3. Or come back every day with the purchase of a Weekend Bracelet.