ST. CHARLES – Jay Garstecki expects he'll return to the All-Canada Show.
The 31st annual event gave his relatively new organization – Take a Vet Fishing – the exposure it needed and wanted, he said.
"We'll definitely be back," the Bartlett resident said.
Held at Pheasant Run Resort in far-east St. Charles, the All-Canada Show featured more than 100 exhibitors and several seminars with such titles as "Bass, Pike, and Muskie – Oh Yeah!" and "Great Canadian Hunts."
It ended Sunday and was the only All-Canada Show for 2014 due to a change in ownership, according to its website. In past years, the event would travel to other Midwestern cities, including Milwaukee and Indianapolis.
The four-day show bills itself as a place where people can plan and book their next trip to Canada, as it offers information on Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and, among other areas, British Columbia.
For Ken Klank of Geneva, Quetico was the destination.
"We're planning a trip," he said.
Although most exhibitors were from Canada, some, like suburban-based PhotoTaxidermy, were local.
Mark Fiebig of PhotoTaxidermy said his company offers a less expensive, quicker alternative to traditional taxidermy. It turns photographs of hunters' and fishermen's trophies into a replica printed on a fabric/polyester removable adhesive, allowing people to peel and stick the trophies onto nearly any surface.
"We're giving fishing and hunting enthusiasts another option," Fiebig said, noting the All-Canada Show was a chance for him to partner with various lodges.
Garstecki – who participates in the Professional Musky Tournament Trail – spent the weekend telling attendees about Take a Vet Fishing. Its one-day events – set this year for June 8 in Wisconsin and Sept. 28 in Minnesota – include four hours of fishing and a veterans memorial party.
Inspired by a friend in the Marine Corps, Garstecki started Take a Vet Fishing as a way to help veterans who are disabled or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he said.
As someone not in the armed forces, Garstecki said, this is his way of giving back.
He said he was encouraged at the All-Canada Show when veterans would stop by his booth and donate items, such as a hat.
"We're doing the right thing for the vets," Garstecki said.