In the most ambitious offering from the joint UA-Hope Foundation and Hempstead Hall, the 2017 Ark-La-Tex Outdoor Expo seeks to attract outdoor enthusiasts from a three-state area. Exhibits and vendors in the show will cater to hunters, fishers, hikers, cyclists, campers and climbers, but anyone interested in outdoors living or family adventures.

In the most ambitious offering from the joint UA-Hope Foundation and Hempstead Hall, the 2017 Ark-La-Tex Outdoor Expo seeks to attract outdoor enthusiasts from a three-state area. Exhibits and vendors in the show will cater to hunters, fishers, hikers, cyclists, campers and climbers, but anyone interested in outdoors living or family adventures.
Hempstead Hall Director Dolly Henley said, “The Ark-La-Tex region is home to abundant wildlife, lakes, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Educational demonstrations, door prizes, hands-on experiences will be available as well as product showcases.”
Henley said hunting and fishing have long been popular pastimes in the area, and she believes the time and place is right for such an event.
“This will be our first Expo and we are pleased to have 20 vendors already scheduled with a great variety of merchandise,” Henley said.
Participating vendors will have boats, all-terrain vehicles, duck and turkey calls, cabin lamps, leather goods, fishing lures, knives, lawn mowers, and even jewelry for those who enjoy the great outdoors, she said.
In addition to exhibits and vendors, the Expo will also appropriately feature a concert with county music star Craig Morgan, who has his own TV show called “All Access Outdoors.”
Speaking about one of the episodes, Morgan said in a press statement, “We took part in the 200-mile Polar dog sled race in Sweden and got to witness the northern lights. Such amazing scenery and subzero temperatures… that was pretty awesome.”
Morgan is currently touring in support of his current album, A Whole Lot More to Me, which was released last June 2016.
Also in his press statement, Morgan, who was born as Craig Morgan Greer in Tennessee, said “This album is very personal to me. It is more of an autobiographical album and shows all sides of me: I do like to have a good time and turn it up a notch on the farm, but I also like a caramel macchiato once in a while or to wear a nice suit and drink a great glass of wine… hence the album title ‘A Whole Lot More To Me.’”
Morgan, now age 52, became an Emergency Medical Technician when he was 18, and he served on active duty in the US Army as a member of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions, later served in the Reserves.
“It is very important to me to show my support to our armed service members. I was active duty for over 10 years so I know how much a little slice of home means to those guys. We have been overseas entertaining the troops 13 times now and try to get involved wherever we can here in the states too, including work with Folds of Honor and USO,” Morgan said.
Among Morgan’s hits are “This Ole Boy,” “Almost Home,” “Redneck Yacht Club,” “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” and “Wake Up Lovin’ You.”    
“I do love singing all of the hits and hearing the crowds sing the words back, but my favorites are probably the ones paying homage to the troops like ‘What Matters Most,’” he said.
Henley said, “Tickets to the Craig Morgan concert range from $20 to $95, and a ticket to the concert gets you in free to the Expo both days.”
While Morgan’s performance is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, the Expo itself is set to run both Friday and Saturday (Feb. 4).
Henley said that Friday hours would be from 12 noon to 8 p.m., while Saturday, the Expo would run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets for admission are $3.00, she said.
Vendors include Rothwell Marine, Hope Tractor, Futrell Marine, Gregg Orr Marine, Parish Polaris, Pettit Machinery, Townsend Outdoors, Hope Archery, Archery Addiction, Rowe’s Leather, Baits and Blades, Cato Lamps, Eddie Horton Turkey Calls, Big Cat Baits, Erwin Knives, Red River Credit Union, Diamond Bank, Farm Credit, and Farmer’s Insurance.