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The Chippewa Falls City Council approved the use of air guns and a shooting range at a new outdoors shows coming to the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in September.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to allow the range to be used during the Wisconsin Game Fest, which will be held Sept. 7-8. The event will feature archery, hunting and hundreds of exhibitors.

Presently, guns are not allowed to be fired in city limits. The council heard a presentation about the new event in November, and there was a first hearing two weeks ago on amending an ordinance that allows gun use. There was no additional discussion about the measure during the meeting.

The ordinance revision states that a firearms and archery instructor must be present during the show “for all discharges.” The range must be created and “coordinated and facilitated by firearms instructors and or professionals and the ranges shall be certified by someone with appropriate credentials.”

Firearms used during the event shall be no larger than a .22 caliber.

With the approval, the fairgrounds will hold the city harmless from any and all liability associated with any event, the ordinance states.

The Wisconsin Game Fest website says it will “feature exhibits, activities and events such as outdoor retail, conservation organizations, dog kennels and trainers, hunting and fishing guides and outfitters, outdoor recreational vehicles and much more.”

Organizer Lisa Gill also coordinates the Wisconsin Sport Show in Eau Claire; this month, that event will mark its 10th show. The Wisconsin Sport Show primarily promotes fishing, but the new Chippewa Falls show will have more of a focus on hunting, she previously explained.

The Wisconsin Sport Show is limited to about 160 exhibitors because it is indoors; Gill said the show in Chippewa Falls should top 200 exhibitors between three buildings plus the outdoor displays.

Among the exhibits already announced are Steve Porter’s Trophy Deer, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation youth shooting trailer, the Fantasy Corral Petting Zoo and the North American Diving Dogs. The Wisconsin Game Fest organizers are partnering with the Westgate Sportsman’s Club to open the inaugural event.

With an outdoor show, there simply is the ability to do more “hands-on” exhibits, she added.

To learn more, visit wigamefest.com or contact Gill at lisa@wisportshow.com.

In other news, the council voted 4-3 to approve giving the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation $5,000. The council previously didn’t include the money in its 2019 budget.

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