Preppers are becoming mainstream.
So said Gary Fugit, a commercial real estate investor from Andover who is helping to organize the first trade show for survivalists in Wichita.
The Wichita Self-Reliance Show will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Cessna Activity Center, 2744 George Washington Blvd.
The show will feature speakers, including Don Kubley, who has appeared on National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers, and more than 40 vendors of survival gear and supplies.
Fugit, who organized the Wichita show with Chad Spaulding, said the movement has grown in recent years as anxiety about society and the future has grown.
“People who think America has been so blessed that it can’t happen are not being realistic,” he said. “Anybody who studies the history of great nations, whether France, Germany or Rome, any great society has to be concerned about the world right now.”
Fugit, who has started a company to do prepper shows in other locations, downplayed some of the movement’s wilder edges, saying prepping can simply be seen as getting ready for an emergency.
“Our thinking is that this is just another form of insurance,” Fugit said “We have lots of insurance for our house, our cars, our lives, all of which we hope we don’t use. This is the most basic kind of insurance that you can have: some food, firearms, shelter in case of a disruption, which could be anything from a tornado to financial problems to EMP (electromagnetic pulse).”
Admission is $10 at the door and is free for ages 11 and younger for both days. For information, go to www.wichita-selfrelianceshow.com.
“Ten years ago, they didn’t talk about it as much or you’d hear ‘Hey, take off your tinfoil hat,’ ” Fugit said. “But now it’s amazing how much it’s changed.”