The producers of the new Wilmington Boat Show in North Carolina say the inaugural show is bigger than they expected when they started planning it nearly three years ago.
“We have wanted to bring a quality boat show to Wilmington for more than 10 years, and it’s finally almost here,” Jacqui Bomar, president of JBM & Associates, a 16-year-old boat show management company and the producers of the new show, said in a statement.
The show will be held Sept. 9-11 at Port City Marina, Pier 33, Wilmington Convention Center and Battleship Park in Wilmington.
“I could not be prouder of the show my team and I have created,” Bomar said. “The Wilmington Boat Show has morphed into a major show for the boating industry and promises to deliver a first-class experience for the Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach market.”
JBM & Associates said it has been producing the Charleston Boat Show for 15 years, the Savannah Boat Show for 14 years and the Charleston In-Water Boat Show for three years.
The company said it waited more than 10 years for the time to be right to launch the Wilmington show. Bomar said it will feature more than 80 boat brands, including skiffs, cruisers, sailboats, fishing boats and yachts.
“This is more than our shows in both the Charleston and Savannah markets,” she said.
It will be the marine marketplace for water sports, gear, apparel and fishing accessories. The show will span the new Port City Marina docks, Pier 33, the lawn of the convention center and the exhibit hall and meeting rooms.
The planners ran out of exhibit space and a place to host celebrity guest Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel, so they expanded across the Cape Fear River to Battleship NC Park.
“There are very few shows in the country that have the capability to utilize venues on both sides of a river,” Bomar said. “This is a major opportunity for the show’s future growth. We have partnered with Wilmington Water Tours to offer free water-taxi rides back and forth between venues. You can park for free at the Battleship Park and check out the exhibits there, then take a short water-taxi ride to the Port City Marina. Or if you’d like to park at the convention center or the other downtown options, you can start there and then head to Battleship Park. This is not a one-hour experience. We have enough going on for an entire day or two.”
There also will be a demo dock for people to try before they buy. More than 100 vendors will be set up along the riverwalk and in the convention center. Fishing and sailing seminars will be held for adults and children, along with other types of educational sessions.
There will be live entertainment, food and family activities throughout the three-day event. Prior to the show on Sept. 10 and 11, children can take a free one-hour pirate cruise with Wilmington Water Tours in celebration of the inaugural boat show. Every child who attends the Kids’ Fishing Clinic will take home a free rod and reel and other prizes.