GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Thousands of people will visit the Baton Rouge area next weekend for the National Preppers and Survivalist Expo.
Experts believe there are four million survivalists nationwide and another three million off the grid homesteaders throughout the nation. Many Americans are taking steps to be self-reliant, meaning when it comes to natural disasters and man-made threats, families don't have to completely rely on organizations such as FEMA to get by.
"There is no doubt that anyone paying attention to the business world will see that even the most vanilla retailers are responding to a growing demand for tools and gear that appeal to the prepared individual. Public concern over annual threats like tornadoes, hurricanes, or ice storms, and potential threats like terrorist attacks, or even Ebola or Zika, has spiked recently and spawned a growing interest in self-reliance by average people," said Ray McCreary, NPS Expo event director.
McCreary says when major companies such as Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and sporting goods stores dedicate sections of their stores to survival gear or preparedness planning, it shows a high level of demand from the public. He says it also inspires entrepreneurs to join the business.
"It's not all products for surviving in the bush without electricity, although that is an important component of the show. Many people define preparedness as simply redirecting parts of their lives to a more natural, self-sufficient way of living. The products, presentations, and demonstrations are about more than surviving an emergency. Attendees will learn natural, do-it-yourself living skills and the opportunity to try out the products they want to buy," said McCreary.
Attendees will have the opportunity to shop for products offered by various vendors from all over the country, while learning many useful skills from the survival industry's top experts. Products for sale include tactical and outdoor gear, essential oils, heirloom seeds, homesteading equipment, emergency food and medical supplies, and much more.
There will be more than a dozen speakers in attendance, giving presentations on survival medicine, disaster preparedness, emergency clothing, self-defense, and emergency food preparation and storage, among many other topics.
The expo will take place at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The event will be held on Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult tickets for one day are $15 each online, or $20 at the door. Children under age 12 are free.
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