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Bass Pro revives World's Fishing Fair

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To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Bass Pro Shops is bringing back an event last held over three decades ago.

The World's Fishing Fair is scheduled March 30-April 3 at Bass Pro's flagship store at Sunshine Street and Campbell Avenue, according to a news release.

"In many ways, the first World’s Fishing Fair in 1988 put Bass Pro Shops on the map. In the months following the event, Bass Pro Shops began receiving guests from all 50 states every 30 days," officials said in the release. "This year’s fair is destined to be the largest event in the history of angling."

The event will include $250,000 in prizes, as well as more than 200 exhibits from 150 manufacturers and $10 million worth of tackle within 500,000 square feet of event space. Concerts will be held by Hank Williams Jr., Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Chris Janson and others, while bass fishing legends Jimmy Houston, Roland Martin, Kevin VanDam and Bill Dance are slated to join Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris at the event.

Officials say 50% of event admissions will be donated to conservation causes, according to the release.

The original event in the late '80s drew more than 250,000 people to Springfield. George H.W. Bush, then vice president, was among guests at the fair.


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I worked for a Bass Pro vendor at the first fishing classic in 1988. Huge crowds, difficult parking. John Morris treated the vendors to a great dinner. I'm not certain if it was at the first fishing classic, or a later event, but he also treated vendors and their families to a private concert by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash at the Shrine Mosque. And I also remember a reggae band from Cleveland that was flown in for a vendor party at Hemingway's. Quite a deal.

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