Fort Wayne Boat Show & Sale Launches

With more than 400 lakes in northeast Indiana, it comes as no surprise that boating is a popular pastime here. For proof, look no further than the Fort Wayne Boat Show & Sale, cruising into the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave., from Feb. 8-11.

“We have over 200 watercraft on display and on sale,” says Tracy Sweeney, president of Total Concepts and executive director of the boat show. “We also have everything that goes with the boat, like pull-behinds, life jackets, lifts, piers and docks.”

Doug Anderson is well acquainted with the event, which is now in its 43rd year. Anderson is the owner of Wawasee Boat Company, 6521 E. Cornelius Road in Syracuse, Ind., and a board member for the Lakeland Marine Retailers Association, organizers of the boat show.

He’s excited to welcome prospective and experienced boaters alike.

“This show is unique because the dealers are paying for the venue and for all of the advertising,” he says. “It’s really set up for the boater.”

Boat lovers can expect to see a wide variety of watercraft to choose from.

“We have lots of pontoons, deck boats, wake boats and wave runners,” says Sweeney.

While boaters check out the more than 100,000 square feet of vendor space, there’s plenty of fun for the rest of the family as well. In addition to exploring the boats, families can savor delicious snacks like Copper Kettle Popcorn. They can also enjoy free giveaways throughout the event, taking home souvenirs like tumblers, cozies and sunglasses.

For anyone new to the area, the boat show is a great way to see just what lake life looks like in northeast Indiana. Anderson points out that, in this part of the country, boating tends to be a family affair.

“The boats are usually multipurpose boats used for cruising and family gatherings,” he says. “They’re also used for water sports. Tubing is big out here, as is wake boarding and wake surfing. And, of course, there are lots of fishing boats.”

Owners looking to trade in an old boat are advised to bring a photo and measurements of their boat when speaking with a dealer.

“Trade-ins are very welcome at the boat show,” says Sweeney. “Obviously, you can’t bring it with you, but bringing the information will help make sure you get the best deal.”
Sweeney also points out that financers will be available to help finance any boat purchases during the show.

Whatever your level of boating experience, the Fort Wayne Boat Show & Sale promises to be a day filled with family fun, setting the tone for future warm summer days on the lake.

“We call the boat show the real kickoff to summer,” laughs Sweeney. “It may be cold outside, but it’s 75 degrees and warm in the Coliseum.”

For tickets, head to Coupons for admission discounts can also be found on the website.