HARRISON — Upstairs it was scopes, bullets and clips and downstairs it was lobster rolls, hot dogs and home made pies.
Throughout the VFW hall on the Waterford Road Saturday, talk revolved around the opening of hunting season — a ritual sometimes observed by skipping work for at least one week in November.
Although it was the second day of autumn, Saturday’s 70-degree weather prompted many who stopped by the Lions Club gun and knife show to take their conversations out into the parking lot.
Waving two gigantic cookies in the air, one hunter called out to his pals as he emerged from the hall, “Look, I’ve got two .38 caliber cookies.”
The show was the fourth annual one for the Club, organized this year by Gene Cross of Naples, who was also busily recruiting new members for the Club.
“It’s a great way to meet people,” he told a woman who had recently moved to Harrison.
One of the busiest tables at the show was manned by Hartland’s Volunteer Fire Department whose members were selling raffle tickets to raise money for new equipment. It’s a popular raffle because a total of 31 guns will be given away — one ticket will be drawn every day beginning Oct. 1.
“We have the drawings in October because that’s when a lot of people go out and buy new guns,” explained volunteer firefighter and engineer Mark Ramsdell. He said of the 1,000 tickets printed, there were only about 30 left.
“We’ll probably sell out by the weekend,” said Kevin Burnham, a lieutenant in the department. Last year’s proceeds were used to buy a thermal imaging camera, while this year’s funds will be put toward a utility vehicle, Burnham said.
Several gun dealers said there are always more “lookers” than “buyers” at the shows, but getting around to all of them is important. In addition to the eight who were selling guns, gun parts, clips, scopes, and ammunition, there were also two dealers selling hand-made knives.
Mike Marsh of Lewiston has been designing and making knives, including intricate engravings on the knives, for 12 years. At the table beside him, Peter Ceprano of Auburn explained the connection between hunters, guns and knives.
“A hunter goes out and spends good money on a gun,” Ceprano said. “Then, he takes his shot, and in a second and a half, it’s over. That’s when the work begins, and where a good knife comes in.” Knives like those he and Marsh make simply aren’t available in stores, he said.
Ceprano tells a story of a special knife he made for a man who was going musk ox hunting in Alaska. He needed a good knife because the hide of one of these animals is about three-quarters of an inch thick.
“The Inuit guide who was with him couldn’t believe he could cut up the whole thing with one knife,” Ceprano said. “Usually it would take two or three knives before the job was finished.”
One of the gun dealers, Loren Shuck, recently moved back to Greene where he has been setting up a shop in his garage. In addition to buying and selling collectible and antique guns, he also buys and sells cast-iron kettles and frying pans.
At a recent yard sale he asked a woman if she knew the value of one of the cast iron pans she was selling. When she said she didn’t, he said, “I’ll give you $500 for it.” After taking his money and giving him a big hug, she asked him what it was worth.
“About $800,” he said.
He’s now up to 350 cast-iron frying pans and bills himself as “The Maine Pan Man.”
The show continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.