By Sharon Space-Bamberger
LIBERTY Over a thousand people attended the Liberty Fire Department’s second annual Gun and Knife Show on the weekend of April 28-29.
Attendees dreamed of buying a collector’s item at a rock bottom price and some did.
The fire department, vendors and local businesses all profited from the event.
The fire department invested $2,500 to advertise the show through the use of local print, radio and TV ads, on the Internet and multiple road signs.
According to Gun and Knife Show chairman John Nichols, it paid off.
“We sold 95 tables. I had to turn people away,” Nichols said. “Last year we had 60 tables. We have vendors from Long Island, upstate, Binghamton and Elmira. That will help the Day’s Inn and other local hotels. It’s a real boost to local businesses.”
Nick Tsicalos, the owner of the Liberty Diner and the Milestone Grill, agreed.
“It’s good for my restaurants and all these businesses,” Tsicalos said. “I gave people with a coupon from the gun show 10 percent off on their checks. I bought a panoramic view of the New York skyline prior to 911 at the show, too. It will probably hang in the Milestone.”
On Saturday morning, hopeful buyers circled the vendors’ displays like foxes looking for field mice. Many snatched up their prizes immediately, others waited until Sunday hoping prices would drop. Thirty-five dealers with Federal Firearms Licenses, including Dominic Fontana of “Bargain Basement Guns” in Liberty, were busy running instant background checks on potential buyers.
Tim Johnson of Johnson’s Gun Shop in West Hurley observed, “There are some good investment guns here, including some early Winchesters.”
Fathers bonded with their camouflaged clad sons as both admired big men’s toys.
Two-and-a-half-year-old Phillip Kolik Jr. recited a rhyme with his doting dad, who asked him, “Where do you shoot your deer?” Phillip Jr. answered, “In the hiney.” Philip Sr. replied, “Who does he run home to?” Phillip Jr. giggled, “To his mommy.”
Hunter Banks, 5, of Livingston Manor earnestly studied rifles with his father Lester Banks.
The volunteer firefighters were prepared for the hundreds of people who steadily streamed into the show. They checked the ownership of all firearms and safety tied the triggers. All guns were sold through licensed gun dealers who ran instant background checks on potential buyers. Teams of firefighters collected admission from everyone except vendors and volunteers. Others sold raffles.
The Ladies Auxiliary, whom Nichols called “our support system,” sold homemade cookies, muffins, rolls with cream cheese or butter, popcorn, hot dogs, nachos and hot and cold drinks.
The vendors and buyers were pleased. Although not everyone found his or her bargain knife or gun, most people spent some money at the show.
The Sullivan County Conservation Club, the Sullivan County Long Beards, the Loch Sheldrake Fire Department and the Liberty Fire
partment did a brisk business selling raffles. Sullivan County Tea Party Patriots educated people about the U.S. Constitution. Leo Cecil and other members of the Sullivan County Friends of the NRA Chapter promoted National Rifle Association memberships and sold pre-event raffles for the Sullivan County Friends of the NRA fundraiser which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Villa Roma in Callicoon.
On Monday, April 30, tired Gun and Knife Show committee members from the Liberty Fire Department held a wrap up meeting. They counted the profits and made plans for their third annual Gun and Knife Show in 2013.