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The turning of the calendar page to the new year signals the arrival of various outdoors shows to the Chicago area.

There will be shows coming and going for the next three months, and you all know by now that I am a total outdoors show junkie. I always try to attend every one of them.

Here is a surprise.

This year, I will be limiting my attendance to three shows. I receive complimentary show passes to all of them, but this time I have decided to look at the array of shows and pick which ones I would attend if I had to spend my own hard-earned money to buy my tickets.

I understand that the general public cannot or does not go to every one of the shows. The economy is still in the doldrums, and entertainment dollars are hard to come by. We all have to be judicious in spending our money. I am picking three shows that I just can’t miss.

I’ll be attending the All-Canada Show on Jan. 10 to 13 in St. Charles, the Chicago Outdoor Sports Show on Jan. 23 to 27 in Rosemont and the Great Outdoor Expo in Woodstock on Feb. 23 and 24.

The All-Canada Show will be at the Pheasant Run Resort Mega-Center. That weekend, I am taking a pass this year on the Chicago Muskie Show at Harper College and the Boat Show at McCormick Place.

Why did I choose All-Canada? I enjoy this show every year because of the friendliness of the exhibitors and the customers. Everyone is always in an exceptional mood. How could you not be happy when you are surrounded by all things Canadian? I see more people I know at this show than at any other.

People attend All-Canada to pick out a base of operations for that dream trip of a lifetime. Those who are repeat visitors to the magical land to our north go back every year to put down their deposits for the upcoming season. They get together at Pheasant Run with their whole group of outdoorsmen to pay their money and plan their upcoming trip.

All-Canada is a true celebration of everything outdoors that our majestic northern neighbor is famous for. I always refer to All-Canada as the “show of dreams.” I haven’t crossed our northern border in a few years, and I know for sure that I spend a lot of time dreaming about it

All-Canada has row after row of booths filled with camps, resorts and outfitters. They range from basic drive-in camps that are extremely affordable to resorts that rival top downtown hotels with their service and accommodations. All offer excellent fishing and hunting opportunities, which is what it is really all about. If you are going to Canada to fish, then think about big ones in many different species. For hunters, the opportunities are limitless.

The All-Canada Show has some unique wildlife exhibits, valuable raffle prizes and good seminars. Norm “The Great” McCreight, a grizzled ex-professional hockey player, is the face of the show and does some incredible seminars. He is a totally unique individual. Norm looks like your typical Canadian and will be doing a number of topics. Can you believe that Norm can filet fish to perfection using nothing but an axe. When you run into Norm, ask him to do a moose call for you. He does it with his mouth and nothing else. It is totally incredible.

The All-Canada Show hours are: Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday from 3 to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The ticket prices are: Adults – $10; Seniors, 60 and over – $8; Children, 13 to 16 – $8; Kids 12 and under – free. Parking is ample and there is no charge.

For information online, visit allcanada.com. You’ll even find discount admission opportunities at the site.

I’ll give you the info and my reasons for selecting the Chicago Outdoor Sports Show at Rosemont and the Great Outdoor Expo at Woodstock as my other two show choices as those events draw nearer.

• Northwest Herald outdoors columnist Steve Sarley’s radio show, “The Outdoors Experience,” airs live at 5 a.m. Sundays on AM-560. Sarley also runs a Web site for outdoors enthusiasts, OExperience.com. He can be reached by e-mail at sarfishing@yahoo.com.

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