When it comes to birding, as you may know, the British are a good bit ahead of us here in the U.S. The percentage of the population that considers themselves avid birders is significantly higher than here; and their long-standing yearly Birdfair is the largest and most well-known commercial event in the world celebrating the culture of birding. How large? Well, over 3 days, 20,000 people attended Birdfair in 2014. Uh huh! And with Birdfair’s added focus of raising funds for bird conservation, there’s hasn’t been anything quite like it anywhere else–until now.
Introducing the inaugural American Birding Expo (ABE), rolling out this fall in Columbus, Ohio! This exciting event on this side of the pond is being managed by the good folks at Bird Watcher’s Digest, who, in planning for this new event, consulted with one of the British Birdfair founders, Tim Appleton (I mean, why reinvent the wheel, right?) According to the ABE website, “Our goal is to produce an event that is commercial/sales-oriented in its design, aimed at consumers who have an interest in birds and nature, and who share our strong commitment to conservation. We have designed the Expo to emulate the same spirit and sense of community created by the wonderfully successful British Birdwatching Fair.”
The weekend event is free and open to the public, and will take place at the beautiful Grange Insurance Audubon Center, just a 10-minute walk from downtown Columbus in Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Vendors representing all aspects of the birding and nature market will display their products, goods, and services at the Expo. While admission is free, it’s a good idea to pre-register–then you will be entered into a special VIP raffle!
Eagle Optics is proud to be a sponsor of ABE, and we’ll have a vendor presence there as well. What can you expect to see in the vendor area? According to the ABE website, “The 2015 American Birding Expo features vendors offering optics, bird feeders and food, outdoor gear, birding destinations, tours, books, apps and media, clothing, festivals and events, photography equipment, clubs and organizations, bird houses and baths, gift items, and artwork.” At this writing, there is still room for more vendors–click here to find out how to get a table!
ABE offers a special incentive to bird clubs! Each club can register to win The World’s Greatest Fundraising Package. In an effort to boost attendance, the bird club that brings the most attendees wins! The package contains optics, travel coupons, gift items, bird feeders, and more—all of which clubs can take back home to use for their own fundraising. Bird clubs can register here.
As I mentioned, raising money for bird conservation will be one of the cornerstones of ABE. This first year, funds will be raised to support an international conservation cause, a North American conservation cause, and a local conservation cause. This will be achieved through donations, a raffle, a silent auction, on-site games, and other channels. Read about the conservation initiatives here.
There is so much to see, do, and experience at the new American Birding Expo! Mark your calendar and plan to attend on Oct. 2-4, 2015. See the schedule of hours here, and check back to the website for updates. While you’re in the area, the beautiful city of Columbus has much to offer for the whole family. Make it a fabulous fall weekend in one of the Midwest’s great cities. We’ll see you there!
Eagle Optics Staff
Binoculars: Bring them: See what they bring you.