Recession Claims Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo

The annual Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo, a giant exhibition held in Austin, will be suspended for at least the next two years, officials said.

TPWD says they just can't line up enough corporate sponsors to defray the $400,000 cost of the October event, which features a 35-acre area filled with pools, rock-climbing, and places to fish, shoot and mountain-bike.

"This was a difficult and painful decision, but after looking hard at the financial realities and seeking creative ways to keep the event going, we finally concluded that the economic recession is affecting sponsor support to the extent that it is not viable to stage Expo," Carter Smith, TPWD executive director, said in a prepared statement.

The event, which calls itself the largest free family-oriented festival of the outdoors, will not be held this year or next.

Smaller shows will be put on across the state, in conjunction with existing events, in its place.

"We will suspend Expo in 2009 and 2010 while we focus on expanding our outreach efforts statewide through partnerships with other organizations and through events held at our own facilities," said Ernie Gammage, TPWD Urban Outdoors Programs leader and Expo director. "Participating in existing events relieves a considerable financial burden while still allowing us to reach our desired audiences."

A decision on whether to revive the big Austin event will be made in August 2010, officials said.

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