Game Fair Brings a European Hunting Tradition to the Northwest Metro
Our area keeps surprising me. Just when I think I’m in the know about all of the great events going on in the metro, I discover a new one I was unfamiliar with. In this case I recently discovered Game Fair, which takes place right in our backyard in Ramsey, MN. The largest event of its kind in the nation, over 50,000 people will head to the northwest metro for this event over the first two weekends in August.
Our area keeps surprising me. Just when I think I’m in the know about all of the great events going on in the metro, I discover a new one I was unfamiliar with. It goes to show just how much there is to do in Minneapolis Northwest.
In this case I recently discovered Game Fair, which takes place right in our backyard in Ramsey, MN. The largest event of its kind in the nation, over 50,000 people will head to the northwest metro for this event over the first two weekends in August.
What is Game Fair? Modeled after traditional European hunting tradition (the largest game fair in the world is in England), the event is a sports show for outdoor enthusiasts. Game Fair features nearly 300 exhibitors from across the country including dog trainers, hunting guides, outdoors clubs, and retailers from across North America. It is by far the largest gathering of sportsmen/women, groups, and dog clubs anywhere in the US at one time.
More than a sports expo, it’s a full participation event for the whole family. There are tons of activities for adults, children, and dogs of all ages and abilities. In fact, visitors are encouraged to bring their shotgun (cased), bow (cased), and their dog (leashed)!
I got to chat with Ron Hustvedt, who’s been involved with Game Fair for over 10 years and is also founder of WriteOutdoors.com, to find out more about this event.
Q: What is it about Game Fair that draws so many visitors?
A: “That's a good question. There is something for everyone and when I talk with people why they come I'm always amazed at the variety of answers. Some say they come to see the dogs. Some say they come to see the seminars. Some say they like the deals on outdoor products. Some just like to walk around, eat food and people watch. People can bring their dogs, not just hunting dogs, and their kids and enjoy a day together. You can be a seasoned outdoorsperson or just somebody who likes dogs and have a great time. Experts will teach you refined techniques or let you try something for the first time."
Q: I’m not a hunter, would I still enjoy this event?
A: “That's something I'm always impressed by. My main gig is as a teacher and when people tell me they saw me at Game Fair I'm frequently surprised because I didn't think they hunted. So I ask them why they go to Game Fair. It's for the dogs, for the shows, for the events they get to participate in. For many people, Game Fair is the only time of the year they do those things and it becomes part of their 'must-do' summer activities.”
Q: What are top highlights of Game Fair 2015?
A: “The trickshooting shows done twice daily are always a big draw and something people leave talking about. The variety of dog events: the obstacle course, agility dogs, and the dock-jumping dogs are definitely the stars of the show. The number of national experts all in one place is something that I think a lot of people take for granted. The ‘Who’s-who’ of the outdoor world are here from all over the country, (more than just Ron Schara and Raven!). But number one has to be the sheer number of things you can participate in.”
Q: In what ways does Game Fair work to get kids involved with the outdoors?
A: “Family Day Fridays are a good start. Kids are free with an adult every Friday. There are a lot of fun things that various exhibitors and outdoors clubs have for kids to do. I have a 5-year old and a 7-year old and they love going to see the dogs jump off the dock, the dogs on the agility course, and all the dogs around the grounds. They also love shooting archery on the 3D course for kids. They love the slingshots, the air rifle course, the laser shot and watching the trickshooter. There's also no alcoholic beverages sold during the Fair to add to the family friendly nature and promote safety.”
I fall firmly into the ‘not a hunter’ category, and I have to say, I would definitely go to Game Fair!
Plan your visit:
- Game Fair takes place the weekends of August 7-9, and August 14-16 at Armstrong Ranch Kennels. Directions
- Hours are 9:00am-6:00pm Friday-Saturday, 9:00am-5:00pm Sunday
- Download the $2 discount coupons before you head out
- There's construction on Highway 10 and Armstrong so look at the easy to follow detour information.
- Watch the video to get a sneak peak of Game Fair
- Need a hotel for the weekend? Minneapolis Northwest hotels are less than 30 minutes from Game Fair! View hotels.
About the Author
- Becca Schaar
Minneapolis Northwest native and freelance blogger