CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Southeastern Wildlife Expo, or SEWE, opened Friday, attracting tens of thousands of people to downtown Charleston.
"Friday's usually mellow and Saturday and Sunday's get pretty hectic," Kaitie Uebelhoer, said.
Kaitie and her dog, Donny, are competing in one of SEWE's highlighted events, the DockDogs challenge at Brittlebank Park.
Dogs attempt record-making jumps across diving pools. But, the expo leaves it's mark with attractions across Charleston, from Marion Square to the Gaillard Center.
"It's important to Charleston from an economic standpoint, from a conservation standpoint," John Powell, executive director of the expo, said. "There are a lot of facets to our mission and you can come out and see it all in one day."
Organizers say SEWE is the largest event of its kind in the nation. The 34th annual event is expecting more than 40,000 people. Veteran exhibitors agree.
"This is the biggest expo spectator-wise," Bob Dewire, event manager for DockDogs, said. "My understanding is in the last few years they've done 40,000 people in the last three days."
The variety of exhibits, ranging from the birds of prey to craftsmen and wildlife artists, keep many people coming back every year.
"There are venues here that appeal to most anybody," attendee Sam Robinson said.
Robinson has attended the SEWE for about twenty years.
"Artwork, hunting fishing trips, beautiful furniture, clothing, just about anything anybody could want," he added.
Organizers hope the expo continues bringing economic benefits to Charleston as well as leaves people with a better appreciation of the outdoors.
"It's a great weekend," Powell said. "We're proud of it, and we hope everybody has a good time."