By Indrek Kongats

There is a reason outdoor sports and boat shows are scheduled in the late winter months. It’s when consumers are going stir crazy and are the most vulnerable to open their wallets and spend some money to cure their severe cases of cabin fever.

Regardless of what the underlying motives are of the show organizers and exhibitors, the shows are simply fabulous entertainment for the whole family, even if you have no intention of making a major purchase.

I remember them very well and always looked forward to going annually since the time I was old enough to walk on my own. I remember climbing into every boat as my father discussed the options and features with the salesman. I remember coaxing my father into buying another bag of those delicious candy coated beer nuts, fresh and hot out of the vat that they were cooked in.

I remember the new boat smell, and flexing a new fishing pole like a seasoned veteran at only 8 years old, trying to impress the professional sale rep. I remember standing in long lines to watch the next fly casting demonstration by celebrities that I’d only seen on television. I remember the fishing pond where one could drop a bare hook into the water, hooking a gigantic rainbow trout and screaming for my father to help me pull him out. I remember begging him to let me try it again.

I guess what I am trying to say is that lifelong memories are made by attending these types of shows, allowing families to grow and bond together, sharing all of the same experiences, driven by similar desires. Of course there are exhibits directed strictly at either the adult (the ever popular beer garden) or the child (wild life petting zoo), which all play an important role in preventing stress and frustration, providing just enough separation between parent and child for both to breathe a sigh of relief.

Here is a complete rundown of what show is playing, when and where:

The Sportsman Show

Location: Seneca Allegany Events Center, Salamanca, NY

Dates: Feb. 18 and19, 2017

Hours: Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Content: Buy, sell, trade or browse all weekend long. Enjoy over 40 booths and 450 tables with experts showing the latest in trapping, archery, sporting and fishing equipment and antique firearms during this two-day event.

Admission: $8.

The Spring Boat and Fishing Show

Location: 6900 Airport Road, International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario

Dates: Feb. 17, 18, 19 & 20

Hours: Friday 12 to 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Content: Quality speakers demonstrating their secrets and tips on how to have a successful summer on the water. Hundreds of exhibitors displaying endless products devoted to fishing, boating, camping, hunting and the great outdoors, all under one roof! Keep the kids happy with rock walls, fishing ponds and more.

Admission: Adults: $15

Seniors: $12 ($8mon Friday, Feb. 17)

Juniors: $12 (Ages 13 – 15)

Children under 13 are free (when accompanied by an adult)

Directions: From Buffalo take the QEW to Hwy. 427 North, exit at Dixon Road.

Turn left on Dixon Road which becomes Airport Road, International Centre is on right.

The WNY Buffalo Boat Show

Location: Adpro Sports Fieldhouse at One Bills Drive, Orchard Park, NY

Dates: Feb. 22, 23, 24, 25 & 26, 2017

Hours: Wednesday, 5 to 9 p.m., Thursday-Friday, 12 to 9 p.m., Saturday:10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Content: The region’s best boat vendors and boating-related product leaders in one space. A Discount Boat Accessory Store full of products you’ll love at discount prices from water toys and towable inflatables, to life jackets, mooring lines, and boat cleaning supplies. The western region of New York is home to many beautiful lakes and rivers which have provided lifetimes of enjoyment and fond memories to thousands of individuals and families.

Admission: $7; free on Wednesday and Thursday!

The WNY Sport and Travel Show

Location: 5820 South Park Ave., Erie County Fairgrounds, Hamburg, NY

Dates: March 9, 10, 11 and 12

Hours: Thursday and Friday 12 to 9 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Content: There is something for everyone at this year’s show, meet the host of Winchester Deadly Passion, Melissa Bachman, and make sure to bring the kids, let them fish in the live trout pond, experience the Bwana Jim Wildlife Show, see a Canine Spectacular, try their skill at the Youth Archery Range and learn how to fish by the Awesome Bass Tank!

Admission: Adults $10

Children 10 and under free

Boy Scouts in uniform free

Veterans with ID $2 discount at door

The Toronto Sportsmen’s Show

Location: 6900 Airport Road, International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario

Dates: March 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19, 2017

Hours: Wednesday to 7 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Content: Boasting over 350,000 square feet of exhibit space, all under one roof, The Toronto Sportsmen’s Show attracts over 300 exhibitors displaying a diverse range of products and services all promoting the great outdoors.  Major segments of the show include: fishing, hunting, boating, camping, travel, outdoor adventure and much more.

Admission: Adult (ages 18+) $20, Senior (ages 60+) $13, Student (ages 13-17), Children 12 and younger are free.