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By January 7, 2019 No Comments

Major changes in Ohio’s largest boating exposition will greet visitors to the 2019 Progressive Cleveland Boat Show when it docks in Cleveland’s I-X Center, January 17-21.

“It’s bigger in many ways this year,” says Michelle Burke, president of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association. “In fact, it’s our largest show in a decade with more than 450 boats plus a wide variety of new family attractions. And, we’ve added an extra day.”

Specifically, extra day is the Martin Luther King Monday and the theme will be “KIDSday” because schools and many offices are closed. Special activities will include kids fishing lessons, meeting a mermaid, constructing a toy sailboat and other hands-on activities all surrounded by balloon artists and favorite Neverland characters like Captain Hook, Tinkerbell, Ariel and a princess or two!

Each show day this year has a theme. Opening Thursday is Put-in-Bay Day with islands entertainment; Friday is Date Night with craft beer specials and music; Saturday is Mid-Winter Rendezvous, a boater’s escape from the cold; and Sunday is Kelley’s Island FUNday featuring exhibits and activities from the largest American island in fresh water.   

Enhancing the experience for visitors is what’s driving so many changes this year. Bringing Twiggy, the world famous water skiing squirrel, out of retirement with daily new comedy shows tops the family entertainment schedule. But add a first-ever Lake Erie Crafts Market; a new Sailing Center with daily clinics and hands-on simulators; live on-water kayak demonstrations; free scuba diving lessons in the heated DEMA pool to note several.

“It’s all about enhancing the family fun at the show,” says Burke, “because that’s what boating is really all about . . . the experience!”

To many show visitors, fishing is why they boat. So, there is no lack of fishing as a theme in the Fish Now Expo section. This year it includes the Berkley 5000 gallon aquarium show; on stage fishing clinics featuring tournament champions; plus more than 150 of the latest fishing boat models ranging from kayaks to center consoles powered with quad outboards.

For water sports enthusiasts, there will be dozens of exhibits featuring boats and equipment for water skiing, wake boarding and the hottest new activity, wakesurfing. On the other hand, the ever- popular pontoon boats that range from basic models to luxury designs boasting amenities like granite-topped bars and mood lighting will be evident throughout the show.

And, if cruising and entertaining in luxury on Lake Erie is your game, big boats like the “Queen of the Fleet,” the Beneteau Gran Turismo 46 Yacht, will be ready for boarding throughout the boat show. Education is also a big part of the show with daily seminar on topics ranging from “Boating with Smartphone Apps” to “Top Cruising Destinations.”

“We’re excited to present over 450 new power and sailboats,” emphasizes Burke. “If it’s a major brand it will be exhibited by dealers from across Ohio. And, it’s a one-stop shopping opportunity with special show prices and great incentives for buyers, too,” she adds.

This year’s boat show hours will be: Opening Thursday and Friday (Jan. 17-18) – 12 Noon to 9PM; Saturday (Jan. 19) 10AM to 9PM; Sunday (Jan. 20) 10AM to 6PM. Monday, special Martin Luther King KIDS DAY, (Jan. 21) 10AM to 5 PM. Admission: $14 adults; 60-plus $12; kids 12 & under free. Advance tickets available online.

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