MASSENA — The organizer of the first Massena Fishing Expo was on hand Tuesday night to talk about the Feb. 14 to 16 event at the St. Lawrence Centre mall.
Although it’s the first one for Massena, it’s not the first for Dan Kenney. He has also run similar shows in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut.
“I think it represents the future for our town,” said Donald Meissner, who is highlighting local fishing opportunities as promotion director for the town of Massena.
“Don has come to my shows for the past five years in different states and has done really well in getting business to Massena. I’ve fished here many times in my life. I’m a hard core angler. This area is the best fresh water fishing area in the country, in my opinion,” Mr. Kenney said.
He acknowledged that the local economy has not been good, “but I hope that I am part of the upswing. I’ve seen a lot of good things going on in Massena in this area.”
Mr. Kenney said he has also visited with individuals about coming here for the fishing opportunities.
“I’ve talked to buddies about getting a cabin up here, about renting a cabin, about fishing on the St. Lawrence. This whole area is just ripe for growth,” he said.
He said the show will feature vendors that include large retailers and major brands offering outdoor-related items, such as for fishing, hunting, all-terrain vehicle riders and snowmobilers. Visitors won’t find home vendors promoting items like doors and windows, but will be able to visit with “mom and pop” operations that might make fishing jigs or spinners or other items.
“I welcome and love those guys because they’re so into their craft,” Mr. Kenney said. “I don’t allow trinkets and gadgets and gizmos. This is for our crowd. This is for outdoorsmen. That’s really the thrust of the show.”
He said visitors will also find other outdoor-related items such as trucks and boats.
“This is a fishing show, so the boats that are going to be here are going to be fishing boats,” he said.
The expo will also feature seminars from “top notch industry professionals” who specialize in their craft, whether it’s ice fishing or fishing for walleye or muskie.
“They’re going to be experts in the field talking about their expertise,” Mr. Kenney said.
He said that, while some people come to buy some of the items that are for sale, others come to learn more about the outdoors through the seminars.
“Sometimes they come because they actually still want to learn. There’s still a lot of people that have no idea about certain species of fishing, so they will come for that aspect,” he said.
Mr. Kenney has asked individuals to spread the word about the show on social media outlets.
“Go on Facebook, go on Instagram, share the posts, tag your friends because if I can’t get the help of the community, then I’m dead in the water. If the community doesn’t support it and if they think it’s just another garbage show, then we’re not going to succeed.”
“Everyone here plays a big part in helping us succeed, helping get the word out and helping to make Massena a really good, well-known destination for fishing,” he said.
“This is about passing the information forward that this area is the area people should come and discover. This is the fishing center of the world. A show like what Dan’s bringing here is a way to get that message out,” Mr. Meissner said.