Come for the spectacular vintage boats. Stay for the music, history, kids’ activities, camaraderie—and boats!
The Antique and Classic Boat Show, now in its 45th year, returns to Skaneateles’ Clift Park July 28-30. Hours are 3 p.m. to dusk Friday, 9 a.m. to dusk Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
The show draws exhibitors from throughout New York state, the East Coast, the Midwest and Canada, and about 10,000 visitors each year. It is hosted by the Finger Lakes Chapter (FLC) of the Antique and Classic Boat Society (ACBS) and the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Visitors will enjoy viewing—and meeting the owners of—some 90 runabouts, launches, sailboats, canoes, rowing craft and race boats, many restored to their original condition. “We’ll have a number of historied and storied boats along the pier and in the park,” said FLC president Dave Couch.
Among this year’s exhibitors are Michael and Elaine Sherwood Jakubowski of Hammondsport, New York, who will show their 1938 Gar Wood Streamliner Blythe Spirit, winner of the Diamond Circle Award at the 2019 ACBS International Boat Show, along with their 1942 Chris-Craft Barrelback Emerald Cut. Joe Fennessy of Auburn will show his 1964 Correct Craft Mahogany Marauder, while Tom Fairhurst of Skaneateles will exhibit a rare 1946 Sportster manufactured by the Hughes Aircraft Co. (and billed, at the time, as “the sportsman’s boat built with airplane precision”).
“The show offers non-stop splendor, set against the backdrop of Skaneateles’ fine boutiques, galleries and restaurants,” said Hilary Fenner, executive director of the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce. “We can’t wait to welcome you!”
Highlights of the weekend include:
- Boat parade and fly-by, led by the Skaneateles Fire Department, starting at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.
- Performances by the Skaneateles Community Band, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday; the Diana Jacobs Band, noon to 3 p.m. Saturday; and the Soda Ash Six, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
- Display of model antique boats by the Syracuse Model Boat Club, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
- Guided village bus tours, presented by the Skaneateles Historical Society.
- Youth judging competition, 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
- Opportunities for children to paint toy wooden boats, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and a kids’ craft activity hosted by the Skaneateles Library, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
- Knot-tying demonstration, 11 a.m. Saturday.
- Photo-shoot and spectator cruise aboard the Judge Ben Wiles, 10 a.m. Sunday. The Judge will leave from the Mid-Lakes Navigation dock in Clift Park and make a slow tour of the north end of Skaneateles Lake, while exhibiting boats make random passes and provide opportunities for action shots.
- Raffle drawings, 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Prizes include a spa package from Mirbeau Inn & Spa, a Skaneateles Dining basket, a wooden boat filled with lottery tickets, and much, much more.
Judging of the boats, in 35 categories, takes place Saturday morning. Throughout the weekend, visitors will cast their votes for the highly coveted People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Doug’s Fish Fry, which will be presented at 1:45 p.m. Sunday.
The poster for this year’s show was created by the Jakubowskis, who assembled a series of photos taken over the past few years, then used AI to give it a painterly appearance. Posters are $10 and are on sale at the show and the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce, 22 Jordan St.
In anticipation of the show, The Comprami Questo, a trout boat owned by Lily Nelson, daughter of the late Rick Nelson, a former FLC president, will be on display at M&T Bank in downtown Skaneateles. Rick gave Lily an appreciation for not only the beauty of antique boats but also the history they convey. The two shared an inside joke about the Italian phrase “comprami questo,” which translates to “buy me this.”
If the show inspires you to learn more about antique boats and boating, stop by the Skaneateles Historical Society, 28 Hannum St., to see the Cockerel, the “new” Rhodes Bantam on display. The boat, the second off the Rhodes Bantam line and the oldest in existence, was built in 1946 at the Skaneateles Boat Co.
M&T Bank is the show’s presenting sponsor. Contributing sponsors include the Sherwood Inn, Beak & Skiff/1911, Brinson Marine, Doug’s Fish Fry, The Savage Homestead, Finger Lakes Insurance Agency, Jordan Insurance, Good Eats & Sips, Jacobs Press, Mirbeau Inn & Spa, Skaneateles Brewery, Skaneateles Festival, Skaneateles Suites, Skaneateles Town Square, 1st National Gifts, Blue Water Grill, Cayuga Tree Service, Mid-Lakes Navigation, Janice M. Miller, Architect, Papavero, Patisserie, Ricklefs Landscape & Excavation, Sea Culture Brand, SECNY, Stroll Skaneateles and Wirth’s Automotive. Media sponsors are Group M Communications and WRVO Public Media.
For more information, go to skaneateles.com or call the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce at 315-685-0552.