The late Andrew “Chico” Crice loved to hunt and fish, so the outdoor expo in his honor focuses on just those things.
Blame it on years of relentless advertising.
How many times have we all heard promises that something is “bigger and better” or “new and improved?” Such claims have become cliché.
That’s not the case here, though.
The second annual Outdoor Expo and Sportsman’s Flea Market honoring Andy “Chico” Crice – set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 31 at Roosevelt Hall in Norvelt — has indeed grown.
Last year, said organizer Matthew Crise, Chico’s brother, the event drew 26 vendors and 22 flea market-type sellers. Crice fit them all inside the hall.
This year the building can’t contain everything.
Already, with a few last-minute people expected to sign on, the show will feature about 40 or so vendors and 25 flea market sellers. That’s in addition to a kid’s trout pond, children’s area full of games, speakers and more.
“I really think the crowd’s going to be up this year, too,” Crice said, pointing out that last year’s event drew more than 500 people with little advertising.
The event memorializes “Chico” Crice. The Norvelt man died unexpectedly last year, collapsing in a stairwell at work. He was just 28.
He was a lifelong, diehard outdoorsman who spent all of his time on the water in the woods. A big focus of his was taking children along.
Matthew Crice came up with the idea of the show as a way to honor that legacy. He wanted to raise money to support the Andrew “Chico” Crice Memorial Fishing Classic.
Rainbow trout were released into five waters — four in Westmoreland County and one in Potter — Chico favored. The fish were big, each 16 to 18 inches. All were tagged for prizes worth $25, too.
Organizers entered everyone who reported a tagged fish into a drawing for a Yeti cooler.
Ultimately, the outdoor expo raised enough money to pay for that and more.
“It went so well that we had some extra money to work with,” Crice said. “We decided it was only fitting to find organizations that got kids into the outdoors to donate that money to. That’s what my brother was all about.”
The hope is that this year’s show will raise enough to allow the Classic and donations to expand even further, he added. The plan is to give money not only to organizations helping get children outside, but one helping veterans do the same.
Those who support the show will find plenty to keep them interested.
In addition to the vendors, several speakers will give presentations., They will cover everything from predator trapping to blood tracking with dogs to Pennsylvania elk hunting and more.
The event will feature raffles, too. There’s one ticket good for a safe and gun worth $500 and another for a whitetail hunt worth $5,000. There will be children-specific raffles, as well, along with door prizes.
Women will find custom shooting accessories from Tint the Range. Men and women can be fitted for custom ear protection and prescription shooting glasses at the show.
In addition, there will be all kinds of food available.
Admission to the show is $3 for those 16 and older and free to all those younger.
This might be just the start of things, too.
Crice is already thinking of next year’s event, and believes he may have to find a larger venue to hold it if things continue to grow. Support from the outdoors community has been wonderful and continues to expand, he noted.
But that would be a good problem to have, he said.
“I hope this is a long-term thing. I think it’s something (Chico) would be proud of,” Crice said.
“We’re genuine about it. This is something that stemmed from a tragedy, but it’s really become a good thing. Maybe that’s what the whole grand plan was.”
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