60th anniversary Mid-America Boat Show set for January

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A major expansion dubbed the “Fish Now Expo” will greet visitors to the Jan. 18-21 Progressive Mid-America Boat Show in Cleveland’s I-X Center.

Bryan Ralston, president of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, announced the new fishing addition to Ohio’s oldest and largest boat show, which will mark its 60th anniversary. Dealers have already increased their space for the upcoming show by nearly 15 percent, said Ralston.

Turning the spotlight on exhibitors of fishing equipment as a major part of the show is the result of a sport show that will no longer be held in the I-X Center.

“Until now, fishing exhibits in the boat show were limited because of the sport show,” Ralston said in a statement. “We’re now able to significantly increase our fishing footprint and we’re clearly offering all those exhibitors access to our much larger boat show audience.”

Ralston also estimates that as many as 12,000 visitors from the former sport show will likely join the 40,000 boaters who converge on the I-X Center each January.

“After all, boaters fish and fishermen boat, so one complements the other in a single big show,” he said.

To boost the fishing-related exhibits, the Hawg Trough will make its first appearance at the boat show.

Angling experts are being added for daily on-stage presentations and visitors will be able to practice casting skills in a new Casting Lake, among other fishing features.

The “Fish Now Expo” will be surrounded by 400 powerboats and sailboats ranging from kayaks to motoryachts.