The I-X Center in Cleveland will again play host to one of the largest indoor boat shows in the country over this weekend and the coming week.
This is the 55th consecutive year for the Progressive® Insurance Mid-America Boat Show, which starts this Friday, Jan. 13, and runs through Jan. 22.
Visitors will be able to board, tour and buy the newest powerboats, sailboats, fishing boats, ski boats, pontoon boats, personal watercraft and quality pre-owned models of all shapes and sizes from regional dealers, according to the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association.
But the collection of boats, though, will not be the only draw.
“We are going to have a lot of engaging speakers at our entertainment stages,” said show manager Ken Alvey. “They will cover a wide range of interests and provide some fun information for boaters.”
Underwater archaeologist Ralph Wilbanks, who directed the successful search for the sunken Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley and is currently looking for John Paul Jones’ Bonhomme Richard, will make scheduled presentations on Jan. 14 and 15.
On the same days, solo sailor Abby Sunderland will meet with visitors and sign copies of her book “Unsinkable.” The now-18-year-old Sunderland attempted in 2010 to become the youngest person to solo circum-navigate the globe. Her trip ended, though, when a rogue wave dismasted her boat in the Indian Ocean.
At the Angler’s Alley stage, presentations and demonstrations will be conducted throughout the show dates by regional fishing professionals and experts.
This year’s lineup of speakers will include 2010 MWC Team of the Year member Mike
Knippenberg, 2010 MWC Father and Son Team of the Year members Gary and Nicholas Zart, 2009 MWC Team of the Year members Matt Davis and Dan Gies, 2008 MWC World Walleye Champion Greg Yarbrough, 2004 PWT Realtree Sportsman of the Year Mark Brumbaugh, plus WKYC Chief Meteorologist Betsy Kling and experts Travis Hartman, Carl Bachtel, Joe Balog, Lance Valentine, Jim and Rich Stedke, Elmer Heyob, Bryan Coates, Scott Stecher, Joe Cornwall, Jeff Liskay and Jonathan Shoemaker.
Families will also want to catch the entertaining and educational shows provided by Capt’n
Willie the Great Lakes Pirate Jan. 13-17 and 20-22.
Several discounts are being offered to attract visitors.
A canned food drive to benefit the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland will be held Tuesday,
Jan. 17, when each person who brings four cans of food to help fill a small boat will be given free admission.
At 5 p.m. on the following two nights - Jan. 18 and 19 - the show’s admission price will be dropped to $5 for Put-in-Bay Days, which will culminate with entertainment from South Bass Island regulars on Thursday evening.
IF YOU GO
The Progressive Mid-America Boat Show is at the I-X Center, 1 I-X Center Drive, Cleveland, from Jan. 13-22.
Hours: Fridays, Jan. 13, 20: 3 p.m.-9 p.m.
Saturdays, Jan. 14, 21: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sundays, Jan. 15, 22: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 16: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday, Jan. 17-19: 3 p.m.-9 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $12, and children 12 and younger, free.
For more information, visit www.clevelandboatshow.com