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Fresh approach

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A boat show by any other name is still a boat show. But it should be called what it is.

That’s apparently the consensus at two trade associations in the Great Lakes these days, as they have announced moves to rebrand some of their events.

The Michigan Boating Industries Association, producers of three annual metro-Detroit boat shows, including the Detroit Boat Show, the state’s largest, announced plans to rebrand their shows with new logos and, for two of their shows, even introduce new names.

“It’s a big decision to rename an event after 25 successful years,” says Nicki Polan, MBIA’s executive director and manager of show. “However, research indicates renaming two of our shows makes perfect sense. We’re really just confirming to the public what they relate to most when it comes to a boat show — what it is and where it is.”

Specifically, two shows will get new names and all will get updated logos.

“We want to align all our show logos to reflect the new, modern innovations being featured at our shows. Boat shows are much different today, offering new and exciting products and features — our logos are a reflection of this innovation,” Polan explains.

The logos are also meant to show unity among the sister shows.

Formerly known as the Spring Boating Expo in Novi, this event will now be called the Novi Boat Show. Moreover, it will expand in 2018 when the Suburban Collection Showplace completes a major building expansion. It will next run from March 16-19, 2017.


The Boating and Outdoor Festival will become known as the Metro Boat Show when it returns to the Lake St. Clair Metropark from Sept. 15-18, 2016. This show will also see a major expansion into the adjacent Shore and North Marina to meet demand for in-water slips from exhibitors.

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Although the logo will be changed to reflect the MBIA family of shows, the name of the venerable Detroit Boat Show will not. The name says it all for this 59-year-old tradition slated to run from Feb. 11-19, 2017, in Cobo Center.

Meanwhile, the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association will debut its new Chicagoland In-Water Boat Show at Michigan City. It was called the Michigan City In-Water Boat Show for 36 years.

“We think the name should more accurately reflect the region it serves,” says LEMTA’s new president, Bryan Ralston. “Our exhibitors and attendees come from the tri-state area of northern Illinois, Indiana, and southwest Michigan that surrounds southern Lake Michigan. It’s a region dubbed Chicagoland after the mother city.”

This show will run from Aug. 11-14, and new plans call for a distinct rendezvous atmosphere, including musical and comedy acts; a hands-on kids’ activities center; a full schedule of fishing seminars and casting for cash contests, among other activities.

Lastly, down in Florida, although plans are well underway for next February’s second running of the Miami International Boat Show at Marine Stadium Park on Virginia Key, the show is also the catalyst that has moved the possible restoration of the Miami Marine Stadium off the back burner.

This unique stadium was the on-water site of popular events such as concerts by Jimmy Buffett and Ray Charles, world-class boat racing series, Easter sunrise services and many other events. It was shuttered, but not damaged, after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Groups such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Dade Heritage Trust had a booth at last February’s boat show where thousands of show-goers signed petitions urging the Miami city commissioners to make revitalization of the Marine Stadium a priority.

Clearly the arrival of the boat show kick-started the idea of revitalization. The restoration advocates say they’re on a quest, and it’s simple: to see the Miami Marine Stadium again be one of the truly great open-air amphitheaters in the world. Never seen it? Just click on: www.savingplaces.

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