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Event offers a glimpse into boating of yesteryear
√ BLC show features activities for all ages
By Terry Duffy
An early fall favorite is just days away in Buffalo Niagara.
The 43rd annual Antique and Classic Boat Show returns Saturday, Sept. 17, to the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road, Grand Island.
Hosted by Niagara Frontier Antique and Classic Boats Inc. (oldboatsbuffalo.org), the show is a “must see” event for those lovers of older vessels on the water. At “Boating Through the Years,” visitors can look forward to a number of antique woodies, fiberglass beauties, classic hydroplanes, jersey skiffs, race boats and more. Taking a place a week later than usual this year, it typically draws Chapter members from the Buffalo and Western New York area, Finger Lakes and southern Ontario to show their classic models.
Organizers said, “Niagara Frontier Antique and Classic Boats invites you to our 43rd Annual Boat and Car Show at the Buffalo Launch Club on Grand Island.”
Participants are expected to gather at the BLC on Friday, Sept. 16, for set-up and registration, followed by a “Fun Run” down to Canalside in Buffalo for an evening pit party. On Saturday, the BLC will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with boats, boats and more boats to check out, both on land and in the water.
Expanding on the “Boating through the Years” theme, event chair Sharon Dickinson said this year’s program will showcase the classics of today and yesteryear.
“It’s really not anything in particular like we’ve had in the past with a specific make or model. We’re basically featuring all boats through the years,” she said.
Dickinson explained the BLC typically invites its membership, which extends throughout Western New York, southern Ontario and the Finger Lakes, to help present this annual extravaganza.
“Right now, we have approximately 50 boats registered; a lot can happen between now and next week. Our goal is always 100,” she said.
An antique car show will take place that day on the BLC grounds, as will seminar programs for adults, kids activities, a basket raffle, and displays of crafts/vendors.
Wooden powerboats will be among the boats on display at the Niagara Frontier Antique and Classic Boat Club’s show on Sept. 17 at the Buffalo Yacht Club. (Photos by Alice Gerard)
Discussing the event’s seminar series, Dickinson said attendees can gain a greater appreciation of what it’s like to actually own a classic – and what a restoration effort actually entails.
“We’ve got one speaker this year, it’s a gentleman who is a member of club, Phil Sullivan,” she said. “He has a boat that has been in his family – he’s celebrating 70 years; it’s a woodie, 70 years old. It went out of his family for some time, but they did get it back. He has spent the last four or five years restoring it.
“He’s finally got it in the water, and he’s going to speak about the history of the boat. He’s got a PowerPoint presentation. After that, they are going to go out and christen the boat. He and his wife are going to christen the boat afterword.”
In addition, “We will have a Kids Camp,” Dickinson said. We’ve got some boat (models) that they can decorate. We’re also going have T-shirts that kids color in, like a color book. We’ll have a mechanical kiddie ride; it’s a boat that kids can ride on.”
The show is also expected to feature various items for purchase – many having that maritime feel.
“We’ll have some nautical-theme, vintage boating related items. I will have some stained glass pieces myself,” Dickinson said.
Also on the BLC grounds, visitors can check out a car show, plus a neat display of watercraft organized by members.
“We’re going to have a couple of hydroplane boats on display on land. The Excalibur is going to be there, and some off-shore race boats are expected,” Dickinson said.
Food-wise, look for a concession tent where hot dogs, hamburgers and sausage will be available for purchase, as well as beer, wine and soda (cash only). A full bar will also be open inside at the BLC.
Judging of entries will begin at 1 p.m. and continue to the 4 p.m. closing. An awards banquet at 6 p.m. inside the BLC will round out the evening.
The show is open to the public, with parking available on the BLC grounds for $10 per vehicle.
Dickinson extended the invite for all to stop by the BLC and discover the joys of classic boating.
“It’ll be basically an opportunity for visitors to see the progression of the boats through the years,” she said. “We plan on having the big boats, the Cris-Crafts put together chronologically, so you can see the progression.”
For more information, visit oldboatsbuffalo.org/ or find the Niagara Frontier Antique and Classic Boats page on Facebook.