Spring is in the air, and at the Portland Expo Center that means it’s time for conventions that promote a big trio of Oregon’s wild West fascinations: guns, gold and marijuana.

In a span of nine days, the Expo Center will host the Rose City Gun and Knife Show, the Oregon Hemp Convention, and the GPAA Gold and Treasure Show, creating a perfect Venn diagram of events that will draw both a small group of likeminded attendees and swaths of vastly different crowds.

The gun show comes first, taking over the venue from March 21 to 22. The event is run by Wes Knodel Gun Shows, which claims ownership of the “Original” Rose City Gun Show (the “original” caveat that came “after many years of negotiation and litigation”). Organizers tour the show across the Pacific Northwest throughout the year, returning to Portland in May, September, November and January.

Some 750 vendors are expected at the show this month, boasting tables full of guns, knives and accessories. “We are committed to leading the pack in aggressively reaching the right customer for the events we produce,” organizers write. “We pride ourselves on reaching new markets, new niches of collecting, new methods to reach customers, and new ways of doing business.”

The following weekend, March 28 and 29, will be shared by the cannabis and gold shows, both substances that have inspired mad rushes to the Western states.

The Oregon Hemp Convention is free to attend and focused on medical marijuana (for now), offering “a global venue for consumers, growers, CannaBusinesses, entrepreneurs, investors, and community partners,” according to organizers, who will showcase “industry products” while “cultivating business values within the cannabis industry through education and responsible community involvement.”

In other jargon-free words, it’s a medical marijuana convention. Expect marijuana, paraphernalia and green crosses everywhere.

The real gem of the event will be the Oregon Medical Cannabis Cup, a competition for local growers and producers of oils, edibles and concentrates, all benefitting the Oregon Food Bank and Oregon Humane Society.

The Gold and Treasure Show, run by the Gold Prospectors Association of America, will be running concurrently in the same building, offering resources and workshops for hardcore gold fanatics and rookie prospectors alike.

The GPAA insists that there’s more gold to find now than there was during the gold rush, and they want to teach you how to find it, with seminars on prospecting, metal detecting, gold expeditions and more. Local prospectors will be there to lend a hand and, presumably, to show off a few big finds of their own.

The trio of events crosses so many political and cultural divides, yet unites Oregonians in our love of rugged individualistic choice. We’re just a brewfest shy of going all-out-Cascadia.

* * *
When: March 21 and 22
Where: Portland Expo Center
Admission: $10

When: March 28 and 29
Where: Portland Expo Center
Admission: Free

When: March 28 and 29
Where: Portland Expo Center
Admission: $10

–Jamie Hale | jhale@oregonian.com | @HaleJamesB

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