Article and Photos by Karen Carr Keefe
Senior Contributing Writer
The Antique & Classic Boat Show on Saturday did not disappoint in its 44th annual event.
For one thing, Grand Islanders are surrounded by water, so boating is a big thing around here.
For another, there was something for all age groups to enjoy.
For the young, it was probably the sunshine, the popcorn, the hot dogs, hamburgers and pop. Maybe some shiny cars caught their eye.
For the young adults and the old adults, there were the gleaming wooden Century Boats, sitting pretty in the water or on the shore.
The Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boats started out as a group devoted to wooden boats but, for the past 21 years, the national group and its chapters have embraced owners of classic boats constructed of all materials, including fiberglass, aluminum and steel.
There also were gleaming vintage cars of all sorts of vivid colors that put our current, mostly black, white and gray or silver models to shame.
The venue, the Buffalo Launch Club on East River Road, has marvelous views of the water, a beautiful lighthouse and gracious clubhouse.
But one of the nicest things is just looking at and talking about beautiful boats and cars, how their owners restored them, and how much fun they had doing it. It’s nice, too, when you run into friends or just people-watch.
Sharon Dickinson was this year’s show chairperson.
“The theme this year is Century Boats, and we are hosting the Century Boat Club and their Thoroughbred Round Up,” she said. “We last hosted them back in 2006.”
Dickinson said there were at least 40 Century Boats at this year’s show.
The Century Boat Co. was founded in 1926 in Wisconsin, and its first boat was a hydroplane of 13.5 feet. Fast forward through the decades, and the wooden boat company built small race boats, assault boats during World War II, pleasure boats in the ’50s, then transitioned to fiberglass boats after the wooden boat era came to an end around 1969.
Dickinson also had a table where she displayed her stained-glass creations, a pastime she has pursued for almost 20 years. She took classes and now teaches Monday courses in the Grand Island Community Education program.
In the mix were some small boats and some very small boats. The smallest were some toy boats navigating a small plastic pool. Siblings Daniel and Elizabeth Opie from Detroit were piloting the boats, one of which was going on balloon power. Their parents brought their 1966 Century Arabian named Lucille.
Not quite so small was the Tiny Tug owned and displayed by Roger Metz of Clarence Center.
“My wife had asked me for many, many years if I would build her a boat like this. So, we were on a vacation trip in 2012, and I had looked on the internet and I saw a boat like this,” he said, pointing to his tug boat. So, he bought it already built. Metz said his grandkids really enjoy it.
The Buffalo Model Boat Club also had a small boat, but big presence, setting up shop at the Launch Club swimming pool.
Michael Carroll of Buffalo said the club has two different types of radio-controlled model boats.
“We have your ready-to-run, which come already built. All you need to do is add batteries and go. And then you have your wooden boat kits, which are a lot of your older boats, your mahogany boats and ships like that, that come with a kit,” he said. “They’re all run on electric. You’ve got your motors. Your faster boats run a cooling on your ESCs, which is on your electric speed control, and on your motors, too. The smaller boats run a brush motor, so they don’t need cooling like the brushless does.”
Carroll said they have fast electric boats and sailboats in their club, as well as tug boats and cruisers. They have sailing and scale competitions. One of his boats is capable of doing 75 mph. He said his club runs its boats in Muir Lake in Audubon in East Amherst.
To find out more, go to https://buffalomodelboatclub.org/.
An overview of the crowds and the boats at the 44th Antique and Classic Boat Show on Saturday at the Buffalo Launch Club.
Michael Carroll of the Buffalo Model Boat Club shows one of his fast electric boats at the Antique and Classic Boat Show on Saturday.
Roger Metz stands with his Tiny Tug Boat, which he said his grandchildren enjoy taking rides in.
Mike Colavecchia displays his 1962 Chevrolet Impala in the vintage car section of the Antique and Classic Boat Show on Saturday at the Buffalo Launch Club.