Plan your next adventure at All-Canada Show in St. Charles
There's nothing like getting away to the wilderness where the only music you'll hear is the birds singing and the electronic buzz of technology is replaced with the hum of a forest alive.
And there's nothing like meeting face-to-face with the brokers of such peace.
An opportunity to do just that will be available Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 9-12, at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles when the annual All-Canada Show hosts trip planners, travel guides, outfitters and lodge exhibitors with a wealth of information for those contemplating a Canadian sojourn.
"In an age where the internet dominates, shows like this continue to move forward," said Scott Pautz of Black Creek, Wisconsin, who owns the show with his business partner, Steve Cegielski.
"Now you've got the lodge owners right there. Chicago is our largest, show with 150 lodges."
The show started its winter tour earlier this month in Milwaukee and, after its stop in St. Charles, moves to Green Bay in late January.
Visitors will encounter information about hunting and fishing trips, canoe trips, kayaking trips, eco-trips and adventure travel.
"You can go up into Manitoba and see whales," said Pautz.
There are vendors who can arrange trips to sites so remote they are only accessible by air and/or boat. For the rugged adventurer, there are opportunities to be dropped off and picked up in far off areas with little more than a backpack. On the other end of the spectrum, there are trips steeped in luxury and convenience.
"You can get on a plane. You don't even have to bring your own fishing gear. You can find any type of trip you want," said Pautz.
Information on passport requirements and border crossing will be available at the show, he said.
Pautz said Canada's popularity as a destination is rooted in its wide expanses of wilderness.
"It's the remoteness. You're secluded, that's definitely the draw. In Illinois and Wisconsin, you're going to see people, a lot of people," he said.
Pautz said travelers also appreciate Canadian regulations aimed at conservation efforts, such as catch-and-release and catch-and-consume programs.
Pautz said the Chicago show will feature free, three-ounce samples of Labatt Canadian beer on Friday night. There also will be a fish supper available, he said.
A contest open to show visitors features a grand prize of a trip for two through Gangler's Fishing Lodges in northern Manitoba, where polar bears and beluga whales have been sighted. Opening night visitors will receive a free daredevil fishing lure.
Tickets are $12 for adults at the door and $9 online. There is free admission for those 17 and younger.
"We want to see kids become fishermen and hunters and outdoor people," Pautz said.
Throughout the weekend, the main stage will host videos and guest speakers such as Chase Parsons of Next Bite TV and Jim Crowley of Hook and Hunt TV.
The show's nod to technology comes in the form of a chance to try virtual reality experiences for an additional $5 fee.
"This past summer we captured a 360-degree video of a float plane. I actually did the recording sitting in the co-pilot's seat. Float planes fly low," Pautz said.
Pautz said the show has been coming to Pheasant Run for about 30 years.
"They fit our space needs and it's attached to a hotel," he said. "It's a pretty famous resort in the St. Charles area. It's still a pretty iconic place in the area that everybody seems to know."
• • •
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9; 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12
Where: Pheasant Run Mega Center, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles
Admission: $12 for adults, $14 for adult weekend pass, free for children 17 and younger, free for veterans on Sunday