More than 400 boats, more entertainment, more hands-on activities and more days to attend the biggest Progressive Cleveland Boat Show in a decade will greet boaters and wannabes when they arrive at Cleveland’s I-X Center for 5 days, January 17-21.

“We are adding a lot more exhibits and family attractions to Ohio’s oldest and largest boating and fishing show,” explains Michelle Burke, president of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association.  “We are also adding an extra day, Monday, to the show’s schedule to increase the opportunity for families to attend.”

Specifically, Burke announced the extra day will be declared “KIDSday” on Monday, January 21, because it’s the Martin Luther King holiday and schools and many offices are closed.

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 a new comedy show tops the family entertainment schedule. But that’s just the start.

Add a first-ever Lake Erie Nautical Crafts Market; a new Sailing Center with daily clinics and hands-on simulators; live kayak demonstrations and scuba diving lessons; special theme days like Kelley’s Island “Sunday FUNday” and Monday “KIDSday” and more.

Dock a radio-controlled boat or take the wheel for a boat racing challenge, albeit on simulators in the Progressive Harbor; climb into kayaks or a rowing scull in the Cleveland Metroparks area; test your casting skills and enjoy the giant Berkley Aquarium shows in the Fish NOW Expo center: have kids build their own model boat; and be challenged by the power boat simulator of the U.S. Power Squadrons, to note a few more.

“The stars of the show will be over 400 new power and sailboats,” emphasizes Burke. “If it’s a major brand it will be represented 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.

It starts with the “Queen of the Fleet,” a luxurious Beneteau Gran Turismo 46 Yacht displayed by Skipper Bud’s. Overall, the show boats will range down in size to inflatable dinghies, paddleboards and kayaks. Virtually every major boat brand will be included this year as dealers showcase their 2019 models.

For example, larger boats will be displayed  by dealers like: MarineMax (Sea Ray, Azimut, Sailfish); South Shore Marine (Pursuit, Back Cover, Grady White, Regal); Pier 53 (Blackfin, Monterey); Jefferson Beach (HCB, Carver, Contender); Happy Days Boating (Chaparral, Robalo, Tidwater, Parker); Clemons Boats (Boston Whaler, Cobalt, Sea Hunt, NauticStar); Skipper Bud’s (Beneteau, Tiara, Cruisers, Scout); Marine Tech Concepts (Formula), among others.

There will also be dozens of exhibits boasting boats for fishing, water skiing, wake boarding and, especially, the ever- popular pontoon boats. A few examples include: Buckeye Sports Center (Lund, Monterey, Harris, Mooba); Boat Masters Marine (Bennington, Chaparral, Robolo, Alumacraft); Vic’s Sports (Ranger, Starcraft); Parma Marine (Alumacraft); Portage Lakes (PolarKraft, Regal); Atwood Lake (Harris, Sylvan), Ravenna Marine (Manitou, Crestliner), to name just some.

Education is also a big part of the show. Daily seminar topics range from “Boating with Smartphone Apps” to “Top Cruising Destinations.” Meanwhile, over in the Fish NOW Expo section, tournament pros like Mark Brumbaugh, Jim Stedke and more will teach walleye fishing tactics daily backed up by the giant Berkley 5000-gallon aquarium.

Each day will feature a new theme. Opening Thursday is “Islands Day” spotlighting Put-in-Bay when islands musical icons Ray Fogg, Westside Steve and Pat Shepard will entertain and visitors will sip the Boardwalk’s famous Lobster Bisque. Other musical entertainment will appear throughout the show’s run.

It will be followed by “Friday Frolic Date Night,” and Saturday’s “Mid-Winter Rendezvous.” “Kelley’s Island “Sunday FUNday” will lead into Monday’s “KIDSday” with added kid activities.

This year’s boat show hours will be: Opening Thursday and Friday (Jan. 17-18) – 12 Noon to 9PM; Saturday (Jan. 19) 11AM to 9PM; Sunday (Jan. 20) 11AM to 6PM. Monday, special Martin Luther King KIDS DAY, (Jan. 21) 11AM to 5 PM. Admission will be: $14 adults; 60-plus $12; kids 12 & under free. Advance tickets available online.

For the latest updates go to: www.clevelandboatshow.com

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