As the lake season draws nearer every day, the Stockton Area Chamber of Commerce 

In its infancy, the event looks to grow in coming years and feature local businesses involved with all facets of everything related to outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing, boating, camping and the like.

Though being a first-time event comes with a few unknown factors and unpredictable challenges, SACC board members already are looking ahead and confirmed the event has planned growth in its future. 

“We’re really happy with the turnout for this being our first year,” SACC executive director Bill Crabtree said. “We’re going to make some improvements — possibly push this event back a bit later in the month — then bring in more vendors, and offer more at the next expo in the years to come. It’s a great way for people who appreciate the outdoors here to get connected with the local businesses who offer goods, services and products focuing largely on outdoor recreation.” 

Local businesses, government entities, shooting sports and non-profit organizations all made use of the day networking and engaging with event-goers 

Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Stockton Project Office, were on hand conveying information about lake usages, water information, campgrounds and planned corps projects throughout the year. 

The National Rifle Association had two separate booths at the event — one solely dedicated to new memberships and renewals; the second being more informational in regards to specific legislative action, legal changes and information from local, state and federal levels. 

Ducks Unlimited had volunteers in house working the crowd selling raffle tickets and admission tickets to a fundraiser banquet the group will be hosting at the end of March. 

Local gun safety training information, ammunition and specialty firearms all were available from Weber’s Fire Arms and Dragon Holsters, owned and operated by Roy Weber of Sheldon. 

El Dorado Cycle Outdoor Equipment, LLC, was onsite with an impressive all-terrain vehicle and displaying the company’s large array of recreational vehicles, lawn equipment and small-engine services. 

Local crafters, product vendors also were present to round out the event’s participants. 

Well-attended and largely successful for its first effort, SACC board members said the event will see an increase in offerings next year and will continue to feature local businesses and area amenities as a way to increase Stockton’s popularity for lake-goers, hunters, fishing enthusiasts and those who appreciate outdoor activities.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in events like these,” Crabtree said. “We’re working to associate more of our local outdoor-based businesses with opportunities in the immediate area and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event.” 

Additional information regarding chamber membership, services and benefits can be obtained by visiting the SACC office located at 3 Public Square, Stockton, by calling 276-5213, by visiting the chamber’s website at www.stocktonmochamber.com or via the organization’s Facebook page. 

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