Attention all man cave owners - and those who would just really like a man cave: It's time to go to school. From archery, paintball and cigar rolling to BBQ lessons, cage fighting and fly fishing - if it's a manly pursuit, the Average Joe Festival has it covered.
The inaugural festival of all things deemed manly takes place Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The two-day event, billed as the show with something for everyone, gives interested males - and females, too - the opportunity to leave Atlantic City learning a few new tricks, like how to really play casino table games, make more creative mixed drinks, and the best strategies to win at fantasy football.
The Average Joe Expo is designed to bring "real guys" together in an environment where anything they may want to try or learn about is at their fingertips, organizer Jon Henderson says.
"The Average Joe has been about six years in the making," Henderson says. "We came up with the concept a couple years ago - what do guys look for and what are we trying to create? We wanted to create a source of discovery for guys. We want to teach you some things."
Henderson, who also organizes the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival and the Atlantic City Seafood Festival, worked hard to offer lessons and demonstrations on a wide variety of interests, starting with something he always wanted to learn how to do - fly fishing. So Mike Corblies, the director of American Fly Fishing Schools, will be leading fly fishing seminars over the weekend.
"We have an MMA (mixed martial arts) guy, we have chefs to work with the BBQ, hot rods, a lot of exotic cars, all these little components that give guys an inexpensive reason to come out to Atlantic City and have a good time."
Special exhibit areas will include a beer garden, where attendees can learn more about microbrews and home brewing, and a "dream car garage" where everything from an early model hot rod to an adrenaline-pumping, 200-mph super car will be on display. Food offerings that include everything from hemp-seed pretzels to chocolate-covered bacon will be available.
The Average Joe Expo will also play host to a variety of celebrities and personalities. Model, actress and Playmate of the year Sara Underwood, UFC fighter Stephan Bonnar and Boston Celtics legend Samuel Jones will all be appearing for meet-and-greet sessions. Clint Lanier and Derek Hembree, authors of "Bucket List Bars," will be on hand sharing their list of what they consider the best bars in the country.
Local beer expert Gary Monterosso, author of "Artisan Beer," will be offering beer tips and recommendations, while chef Rocky Fino, author of "Will Cook for Sex: A Guy's Guide to Cooking," will be offering cooking demonstrations.
"In our market, it was a cool niche," Henderson says. "It was something that I thought … it's a first-year event, we want to get it done and launch it, create the experience and learn from it."
With a huge emphasis on male lifestyle, the expo will cover motocross, gaming, action sports, cars, all things outdoors and everything in between, Henderson says.
"So there are a lot of real cool moving parts," Henderson says. "That's what we wanted … lots of fun cool stuff, that maybe you have seen but maybe you never had time to ask questions about."