Boating is a way of life along the shoreline of Ottawa County, so it is only natural when you travel east next week to visit the Cleveland Boat Show on Jan. 17-21 at the I-X Center in Cleveland, there will be a lot of familiar faces at the exhibits.
Kelleys Island, Marblehead and Put-in-Bay will each gather in special sections. More than 30 boat dealers, marinas, and realtors and others from around Ottawa County will make the scene. The show is hosted by Lake Erie Marina Trades Association dealers from around the region.
President Michelle Burke, the head of LEMTA, is making changes. She has already scrapped the long-time name of the show, swapping the Mid-America Boat Show favored by past management, to simply title the expo The Cleveland Boat Show.
“Cleveland is awesome,” said Burke. “So let’s celebrate that.” Progressive Insurance will again be the title sponsor.
Show hours are: Thursday and Friday, noon-9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Show admission is $14, $12 for seniors. Kids 12 and under are free. Parking fees charged by the I-X Center are not included in the price of a ticket.
Thursday will be Island Day, featuring the best of Put-in-Bay. Friday is billed as Date Night, while on Saturday the show is a Mid-Winter Rendezvous. Sunday is Kelleys Island Fun Day. Monday is Kid’s Day, with face painting, balloons and other youth activities.
Boats and noted Marblehead artist Bailey VanKirk of Desdemona’s Art Gallery will be featured throughout the show at their exhibit in the Marblehead section. VanKirk will create an oil painting of a classic boat during the show.
Fishing will again be a part of the Cleveland Boat Show, a much-needed addition after the demise of the companion Cleveland Outdoor Adventure Show last year. There will be fishing seminars every day, including kid’s fishing clinics.
Dan Elko, Dan Armitage and Mike Durkalec will be perched on the massive, 5,000-gallon Berkeley Aquarium to hand out words of angling wisdom, covering topics from panfish to fly fishing. The Walleye Stage will be manned by veteran Lake Erie tournament walleye fishermen Mark Brumbaugh and Jim Stedke.
The largest fishing-related exhibit will be the 30-foot Bay’s Edge exhibit from Port Clinton, showing off fishing tackle from the Bay’s Edge Bait & Tackle, as well as the Bay’s Edge Boat Service Center, fish cleaning service es and luxury condos. New will be the Vepo Orthodek franchise, a space age decking alternative to marine carpet and traditional molded non-skid decking.
Two must-visit exhibits will be the Lake Erie Foundation, which is leading the environmental fight to improve Lake Erie, and Ohio Sea Grant, where experts will discuss Lake Erie issues and educational opportunities available at its Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie’s Gibraltar Island.
Lake Erie Day at the show is Jan. 21, with $1 of each admission donated to Stone Laboratory student scholarships.
The Cleveland Boat Show at the I-X Center in Cleveland is Ohio’s largest marine expo, featuring watercraft ranging from luxury sailboats and powerboats to a wide variety of fishing boats, kayaks, inflatables and classic wooden craft.