World’s Fishing Fair, hosted by Bass Pro Shops, returns this spring

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Bass Pro Shops bring it back World Fishing Fair this spring.

The World Fishing Fair will feature live music, fishing seminars, deals and opportunities to meet fishing professionals March 30-April 3 in Springfield.

The first iteration of Bass Pro’s World’s Fishing Fair was held in 1988.

For the past 34 years, the title “World’s Fishing Fair” has been used for other Bass Pro events, but a company spokesperson told the News-Leader that this year’s event will be modeled after the “historic” show of 1998.

According to Professional Bass, hundreds of thousands of fishing enthusiasts participated in the first World Fishing Fair. They settled in outdoor tents to listen to the famous fishermen Roland Martin, host of “Fishing with Roland Martin” on NBCSN; Bill Dance, host of “Bill is dancing outside;” and Jimmy Houston, host of “Jimmy Houston away.”

These fishing professionals will make an appearance at this year’s fair, alongside others including Rick Clunn, Kevin VanDam, Edwin Evers and Skeet Reese.

From left, Jimmy Houston, Roland Martin, Johnny Morris, Kevin VanDam and Bill Dance smile for a group photo.  Houston, Martin, VanDam and Dance are professional anglers and will all be attending the Bass Pro Shops World Fishing Fair this spring.  This will be the second edition of the Bass Pro Shops fair;  the first was in 1988, which Houston, Martin, and Dance all attended.

In addition to panels of celebrity anglers, country musicians will headline Concerts for Conservation, a series of concerts that will run throughout the event. Hank Williams Jr., Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Chris Janson are among the headliners. Concert dates are to be determined.

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Similar to 1988, this year’s World Fishing Fair will feature 150 manufacturers in the fishing, boating and outdoor categories, according to a Bass Pro press release. Manufacturing representatives and technicians will be available to provide in-person training on the latest industry innovations.

Throughout the five-day event, factory shutdown and overstock equipment, fishing boats and other vehicles will be available for sale.

Circus-like tents fill the parking lot of Bass Pro Shops in Springfield during the World Fishing Fair in 1988. This spring, Bass Pro Shops is bringing the World Fishing Fair back to Springfield from March 30 to April 3.  The five-day event will feature live music, fishing seminars and bargains.

At Bass Pro National Headquarters, attendees can visit the National Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame, American Fly Fishing Museum, Archery Hall of Fame, and the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum.

Tickets will be available for purchase online and at the show. One-day general admission tickets are $8 for ages 9-15 and $20 for ages 16 and up. Two-day passes are $10 for ages 9-15 and $25 for ages 16 and up. Three-day passes are $12 for ages 9-15 and $30 for ages 16 and older. Children 8 and under are free.

Online tickets will be available and parking details will be shared on the Bass Pro World Fishing Show Website closer to the event.

Half of the proceeds from the World Fishing Fair will be donated to support local conservation. Although specific organizations supported by the fair have yet to be announced, Bass Pro is a donor to organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Safari Club International Foundation, International Game Fish Association and others.

Greta Cross is the current affairs reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow her on Twitter and instagram @gretacrossphoto. Story idea? Email him at [email protected]

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