Hey, it's John Roy! As a knifemaker, I get the chance to attend a myriad of different knife and gun shows, and I often get asked; “What are the best shows to go to?” Obviously, I can’t speak for the shows I haven’t attended, but from the ones I’ve had the pleasure of going to I’ve compiled a short list of the crème de la crème. So here are my favorites, in no particular order:
California Custom Knife Show Anaheim, CA (October 21-22, 2017)
Dan Delevan has known our family for years, and is well known in the knife industry as a great guy and an all-around authority on knives. I stop by his shop whenever I’m out in the Costa Mesa area in southern California. Plaza Cutlery is inside the busy South Coast Plaza Mall and has been a landmark there for a great many years. I love coming to Dan’s shop, he always has the latest and greatest knives; customs and high-end factory alike.
Dan is also the promoter of one of my favorite knife shows to attend, the California Custom Knife show. It’s an intimate knife show, located in the beautiful and ritzy Embassy Suites Garden Grove/Anaheim South and drawing knifemakers, suppliers and attendees from all over the nation. I really enjoy attending this show because of the elegant setting, and the friendly family vibe. It’s also really close to some pretty big attractions, like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. We like to plan a family vacation from time to time around Dan’s show, it’s just a fun combination. If you are someone who is interested in customs, this is a great show to attend.
The Blade Show, Atlanta GA (June 1-3, 2018)
This is a HUGE show, filled with anything knife related you could think of. It’s held in the beautiful Cobb Galleria in the heart of Atlanta. There are custom makers, forgers, big name suppliers, factory knives, sheath makers, engravers, scrimshanders, the list goes on. The Blade show is the biggest knife show in the US, and has been going strong for a number of years. It’s put on by Blade Magazine, and they do a great job.
When you go be sure to check out the schedule in advance, as there are cutting demonstrations by masters of technique, and classes for many different knife related subjects, such as how to expertly sharpen your knife. We have the opportunity to see what’s new in the industry, hang out with old friends, and gain fresh new inspiration for our own design line. It’s also fun to meet celebrities, such as the judges of the hit tv show, Forged in Fire. After spending the day at the show, you might choose to gather with other knife enthusiasts, makers and others at the “Pit” after hours, to relax and have a drink.
The entrance fee is reasonable, considering the pure amount of edged awesomeness you are exposed to. Be sure to register early, it makes the entrance process a lot smoother and quicker.
I encourage you to check out their website for more info at www.bladeshow.com You can also check out the exhibitor list to see who will be there, but don’t forget to stop by and say hi to the Dawson gang, we’re always at table #10H!
Big Reno Gun Show Reno, NV (November 10-12, 2017)
If you enjoy the finer things in life, this is a fantastic show to check out. The Big Reno Show is held in the beautiful and luxurious Grand Sierra Resort. The show is a wonderland of fine antique guns, modern guns, and of course, high quality knives. There is a lot to see, so come prepared to spend the day. Whenever I attend The Big Reno Show I eat at one of the restaurants in the resort. My favorites are the Charlie Palmer Steakhouse and Cantina. Really delicious food and great service at both restaurants.
Lake Tahoe is also a short 30 min trip away, I know a lot of people who plan their vacations around the show. Some high-quality firearms and ruggedly sexy knives, decadent eats and lots to entertain yourself with. The admission is reasonable too, but you may want to get there a little earlier before the doors open to get a place in line.
The Gathering of the USN, Las Vegas NV (Aug 30-Sep 1, 2018)
What can I say about the USN show? These guys are some of the best guys you could hope to meet, very inclusive and friendly. Instead of the traditional long rows of tables, the USN show is set up a little differently, with circular table “pods” to create a more intimate atmosphere with makers and buyers alike. There are a lot of custom makers, high end factory knives, knife gear, you name it. I really enjoy talking with everyone at this show, because like me, they are all big time knife enthusiasts.
The show is held at Planet Hollywood, a very luxurious hotel on the Las Vegas strip. Trader’s Cove is a relaxing area inside the hotel where you can gather after the show to chat, show and tell, and buy and sell after hours. It’s a great atmosphere with good food and drinks and lively conversation. Now this is Vegas, so of course there is plenty to do outside the hotel as well. Another great show to plan a weekend excursion to, I promise you won’t run out of entertainment options.