The Warren Mall is undergoing a transformation.
Starting Friday and continuing through Saturday morning, preparations for the annual Warren County Outdoor, Travel and Gun Show have begun.
Vacant storefronts open their gates to showcase wares ranging from vehicles to simple crafts. Hallways featuring nary a shopper only a few days ago fill with dozens of vendors and thousands of attendants. By the time the show's doors open, what was once a struggling shell of its former glory will have been turned into a bustling hive of activity.
Times Observer photo by Jacob Perryman
Scott Hulings, left, and Shawn McCray with Leisure Time Power Sports maneuver an ATV into place in a storefront at the Warren Mall on Friday in anticipation of the Warren County Outdoor, Travel and Gun Show on Saturday and Sunday.
According to John Papalia Jr., director of the Council on Tourism through the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry, approximately 90 vendors will be on hand Saturday and Sunday during the show, which runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days.
"We really have something for everyone," Papalia said, "from hunting and fishing stuff to craft vendors. We've really gotten to know a lot of these folks (the vendors), and they're really great people. They're willing to help out and talk to anyone. So bring your whole family. It's free of charge."
Papalia said on Friday he expects vendor setups and registrations to be split between Friday and Saturday morning.
"It's usually about half and half I'd say," Papalia said. "We've found a lot of the smaller vendors come in and set up in the morning. We're actually ahead this year. A lot of vendors have come in already and registered. It's kind of nice."
As of Friday afternoon, vendors had already begun moving vehicles, ATVs and boats into the mall in anticipation of the show.
"That's a big help," Papalia pointed out, "getting the bigger stuff in ahead."
If previous years are any indication, the show should will draw a substantial crowd.
"It think we'll hit that 7,000 (attendee) mark," Papalia said. "I think we'll be above that, but that's the goal. We've grown every year, so we're expecting at least that. We're getting a great reputation as a quality show and that really helps."
The show will also feature demonstrations and representatives from a wide variety of outdoor-oriented organizations from both the public and private sector on hand to discuss outdoor issues.