A show before the shows?

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The all-carbon Donzi 44 Icon is one of the boats that will be available for test drives.

The all-carbon Donzi 44 Icon is one of the boats that will be available for test drives.

Iconic Marine Group, which manufactures Fountain Powerboats, Donzi Marine and Baja Marine models in Washington, N.C., is having an event next month called the “Boat Show Before the Boat Shows.”

“You go to a boat show and you’re rushed and can’t run the boat the way you want to,” Jeff Harris, IMG chief operating officer, told Trade Only Today yesterday. “Here we have the wide-open Pamlico River.”

The invitation-only event was driven by Fountain, Donzi and Baja dealers who invited serious customers. “It’s not a factory sale, it’s an IMG dealer network event,” said Harris. “The dealers are entirely responsible for the screening process.” The show before the show immediately follows the company’s 2020 dealer meeting.

Harris estimates that there will be up to 14 boats in the water, including a 55 anniversary edition Donzi 22 Classic, a Donzi 38 ZRC high-performance model, the new Donzi 41GTZ and the all-carbon Donzi 44 Icon catamaran, which runs 125 mph with quad Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboards. Team Baja will have three of its Outlaw series in the water and Fountain will have five boats, including the 39NX center console powered by triple Mercury Racing 450R outboards.

“You can test a 34-foot Fountain center console and then drive a 38-footer and feel the difference,” said Harris.

Guests at the event can tour the facility to see how the boats are built. “We’re looking to generate some excitement and sell boats, so it’s as much about promoting what we build and it showcases our people,” said Harris. “This is a throwback to the way things Reggie did things way back.”

Reggie Fountain II, who founded Fountain Powerboats, would frequently host customers at his home, take boats out for a test drive, tour the factory and take the customers out to dinner that evening.

Fountain will be on hand during the event to talk with customers and answer questions. The Boat Show Before the Boat Shows takes place October 9-11. 

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