The 42nd annual Fort Wayne Boat Show & Sale will have more than 200 watercrafts on display Thursday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave.
“Since 1981, we have proudly been one of the largest collections of boats to be on display at the Memorial Coliseum,” says Tracy Sweeney, executive show director. “The Boat Show provides a unique space where industry professionals and fans can gather together to share ideas and meet other people who share their passions for the boating industry. You will find more than 52 exhibitors, including marine dealers from all over Indiana and Michigan, together in one place.”
Interest in the Boat Show spans across states, as visitors from Indiana, Michigan and Ohio travel to Fort Wayne to attend, Sweeney says. The event is made possible by the Lakeland Marine Retailers Association.
For many families, the Boat Show is an annual outing and one of the first signs that spring is on the way, Sweeney adds. This year, the event takes place from 3-8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday.
“It might be cold outside, but it’s sunny and 75 inside the Fort Wayne Boat Show and Sale,” Sweeney says.
She advises visitors to arrive early in the day, so that there’s enough time to browse the impressive array of watercrafts on display. Take your time to walk through the many pontoons, sit on a jet ski, or get up on a large speed boat. The options are bountiful, so make sure there’s ample time to see which option best fits your family’s needs.
Products at the show include boats, outboard motors, electric boats, personal watercraft, lifts, piers, docks, boat covers, boat upholstery and more. Certain vendors will also have boat accessories and water toys, Sweeney adds.
Visitors who wish to trade in their current boat for a new one should bring pictures of their boat and any important documents/information so that dealers can assess your boat’s condition and provide an accurate trade-in value.
“Again, this event has been here in Fort Wayne since 1981, and many of these dealers have been here since the first show,” Sweeney says. “Boating is very important to many families, and it is great every year to see families and friends get together at the Fort Wayne Boat Show and talk about the sunny days coming soon and being out on a boat.”
In addition to shopping and/or bargaining, visitors can take advantage of a water safety class taught by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on Saturday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The class is free and open to anyone ages 13 and older. Doors open at 8:30 a.m., and registration takes place at the DNR booth or at register-ed.com.
Those who attend on Saturday also have the chance to receive a Fort Wayne Boat Show insulated mug, and on Sunday, the first 300 people to arrive will receive sunglasses, Sweeney says. The event will also have dry roasted nuts courtesy of The Almond Garten, freshly popped kernels in a variety of flavors from Copper Kettle Popcorn, and other snacks.
Money-saving coupons are available at fortwayneboatshow.com. On Thursday, the event is free entry and free parking with a coupon. Other coupons apply to items on Friday through Sunday, Sweeney says.
Entry without a coupon on Thursday costs $2 from 3-6 p.m. and $10 from 6-8 p.m. Entry for teens and adults costs $10 the rest of the weekend, while kids 12 and under are free. ❚