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Winter weather hurts Providence show attendance

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Gate attendance fell slightly at the Providence Boat Show, but organizers today attributed the decline to a quiet New England winter that suddenly awakened with several inches of rain-soaked snow on Saturday and the promise of a blizzard sweeping through the region tonight and tomorrow.

“Overall, we got lucky with the weather, and in the end we had a strong show,” Rhode Island Marine Trades Association CEO Wendy Mackie told Trade Only Today. “The exhibitors told me they were really happy and were committed to the show.”

The 22nd annual Providence show, under RIMTA ownership for the second year, was held from Friday through Sunday at the Rhode Island Convention Center.

“When we took over in October 2013 we only had 100 days to pull together the 2014 show,” Mackie said. “We had a full year to plan the 2015 show and we continue with our goal to breathe new life into the show and grow the show over the next three to five years.”

More seminars, more sponsors, more interactive exhibits, a new display of nautical-inspired art called ArtSEA, a central pavilion, longer show hours and a greater sail product presence were the most noticeable additions on the floor among 165 exhibitors on Friday.

Another new feature was the New England Boating Experience, where visitors could discover the ways they can go boating in the region.

“We want to show the multitude of ways to get on the water, from paddleboards to high-end power cruisers,” Mackie said.

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