Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show Preview

The show also provides something for all ages, from informative seminars to kids activities, like the trout pond, an annual favorite. Photo provided

Whether a gathering of old friends for a hunting trip, an adventure fishing for walleye or an annual family vacation, outdoor traditions run deep for many Hoosiers. But for now it’s late winter – cold, monochromatic, wet and nasty.

The timing is perfect for an annual tradition to help lift the spirits of outdoor minded folks during these waning days of our coldest season. It’s the Ford 63rd annual Indianapolis Boat Sport and Travel Show.

Taking place at the sprawling Indianapolis State Fairgrounds, one of our nation’s largest outdoor shows will be held February 17-26. It is here where thousands will flock to help ease the pain of cabin fever. Over 700,000 square feet, spanning six buildings will be filled with almost every type of outdoor exhibits and special features anyone could imagine. From viewing the latest RV’s, boats and ATV’s to planning that special hunting or fishing trip the show has something for everyone. Those looking for hard to find fishing tackle are almost certain to find it here.

The show is bookended by two popular exhibitions. Opening weekend, February 17-19 features the return of the Indiana Motorcycle Expo, which includes the visually inspiring Biker’s Showcase and the historical Pioneers of Hoosier Motorcycling. During the final weekend, February 23-26, the show plays host to the always popular Indiana Deer, Turkey and Waterfowl Expo. This show delivers the most comprehensive list of exhibitors and features any hunter would appreciate. Throughout the ten days visitors can take in the Yamaha Boat Pavilion, RV Pavilion, Travel and Tourism exhibits and the perennial favorite, Tackle Town.

Fishing is one of America’s most popular activities and Tackle Town helps feed that passion with 70,000 square feet of all things angling. Almost every type of tackle, fishing gear and accessories will be offered in one location with special show prices. Children can also enjoy the action packed Kid’s Zone or attend one of the fishing seminars aimed at our younger anglers.

Boats, RV’s and ATV’s are an outdoor enthusiast’s magic carpets, whisking us away from the demands of daily life. These types of travel equipment will fill seven acres of space, from giant cruisers to small jon-boats. Boating lifestyle products and all types of accessories will also be on hand from hundreds of dealers.

From lightweight towable campers to huge, luxury coaches and everything in between will be available under one roof. Because of the additional work involved, none of these dealers want to take their boat or RV inventories back home with them. So this is the best place to make them an offer.

The Travel and Tourism Pavilion is the perfect place to plan your next family vacation, whether a fishing trip, wilderness hunt or other unique outdoor excursion. Local, state, national and even international travel professionals representing 25 states and three countries will be on hand to help plan your next getaway. Many of the exhibitors are the actual owners and operators of the lodges, resorts and camps they represent. Since you are dealing direct you won’t pay for an agency or middleman, which means you can book a vacation at a better price.

The Indiana Motorcycle Expo is a Mecca for all types of bikes and motorcycle accessories. If you are in to traveling on two wheels this portion of the show brings together enthusiasts, manufacturers, dealers and bike related exhibitors from across the country. The bike fashion show by the International Bikini Team always draws a large, fun crowd.

Anchoring the final weekend is the Deer, Turkey and Waterfowl Expo. No matter what species you hunt, this segment will fuel the passion with the latest in gear, gadgets, information and inspiration to last an entire season. Located in the Expo Hall, the Deer, Turkey and Waterfowl expo serves the passionate, diehard hunter to those who are looking for a place to get started.

Outdoor passions and traditions are as varied as the people who take part in them. But this one event caters to everyone. This has become a place for those who make the outdoors their lifestyle to those with a more casual interest.

John Martino
Martino is a well-known outdoor writer throughout Indiana and has served as longtime outdoor columnist for the Kokomo Tribune newspaper. Martino has won numerous awards for both his writing and his service to youth, conservation and the community. He recently retired as Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City of Kokomo and now works as Ivy Tech Executive Director for Facilities for the Kokomo region.


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