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Midwest groups team up to space out shows

The three largest in-water boating expositions held annually on the Great Lakes have worked together to set dates that avoid conflicts and make it more convenient for exhibitors that traditionally display in each event.

Both the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association and the Michigan Boating Industries Association have revamped their upcoming fall show schedules. Overall, it provides ample time between shows to conveniently move boats and other products from venues on Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.

The shows include the Michigan City In-Water Boat Show on Lake Michigan near Chicago, now set for Aug. 7-10; the North American In-Water Boat Show At Cedar Point on Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo, now Aug. 21-24; and the Boating & Outdoor Festival on Lake St. Clair near Detroit set for Sept. 11-14.

“Changing the dates of each show provides different benefits for each event, but it works out well for both associations, our exhibitors and the public,” Lake Erie Marine Trades Association president Ken Alvey said.

Specifically, the Michigan City (Ind.) show, traditionally held just before Labor Day, has been moved to Aug. 7-10 and will lead off the fall in-water show circuit on the Great Lakes. The move avoids conflicts with late August back-to-school times now so prevalent and is expected to result in increased attendance by the region’s boaters.

The show at Cedar Point (Ohio), the oldest in-water show on the Great Lakes, has been staged after Labor Day for 43 years. Its new dates will be before Labor Day, from Aug. 21-24. The move will avoid Cedar Point’s huge HalloWeekends. Previously, these two popular events ran simultaneously creating long traffic delays that angered attendees. The move will make access to the boat show much easier.

Finally, the Michigan Boating Industries Association’s big Boating & Outdoor Festival, held in late September, will move up to more desirable dates of Sept. 11-14. Among other advantages, the earlier schedule will help this event avoid significant weather changes that typically take place in the Great Lakes in late September.

“This is our fifth year doing this Festival and it has grown each year, especially in boats displayed in the water,” MBIA executive director Nicki Polan said. “The earlier dates bring it closer to the boating season and that should boost exhibits and attendance again this year.”

Actually, the marine trade groups in Ohio and Michigan have a long history of working closely on projects from coordinating efforts on issues impacting the Great Lakes to sharing special exhibits and feature attractions in their various shows. Their cooperation is a model in combined service to a region’s boating interests.

For information on each show, go to:;; and


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