Antique and Classic Boat Show Celebrates 30th Year in Skaneateles, 46 Years Overall

06/13/2024

New This Year: A Free Parking Shuttle

Oh, the places they have been. The stories they could tell. And soon, these storied boats of yesteryear will be docking in Skaneateles.

The Antique and Classic Boat Show, now in its 46th year, returns to Clift Park July 26-28. 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, hosted by the Finger Lakes Chapter (FLC) of the Antique and Classic Boat Society and the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, draws exhibitors from throughout New York state, the East Coast, the Midwest and Canada. About 10,000 visitors attend each year.

“The show has gone from state parks to canal-side villages to broad lakes and busy ports,” says Paul Garrett, FLC boat show committee chair. “Thirty years ago, we came to Skaneateles and made this quaint, colonial-style village our boat show home.”

Dick Sherwood, then-president of FLC, describes Skaneateles as “a venue that fits the tone of the event perfectly.”

“We found a home here. And we’ve worked to make the show better every year since,” says Arnie Rubenstein, who served as committee chair in 1994 and for eight years afterward.

(Fun fact: The Community Docks, as well as the former docks—both owned by the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation—resulted from this move.)

Visitors to the show will be able to view, and meet the owners of, some 80 runabouts, launches, sailboats, canoes, rowing craft and race boats, many restored to their original condition. The names are legendary: Gar Wood, Chris-Craft, Century.

Among the land displays will be Bella, a double-ended rowing craft believed to have been built in the late 1800s or early 1900s and owned by Noah Taylor, and Puller, a Pulling Boat (similar to an Adirondack Guideboat, but heavier) built in 1916 by the Skaneateles Boat and Canoe Co. and owned by Steve Shehadi. Puller spent 50 years in Minnesota and another 27 in northern Michigan before being returned to Skaneateles a few months ago. It is one of four boats, along with a trailer full of outboard motors and a trailer full of inboards and steam engines, that Shehadi will be exhibiting.

“The Antique and Classic Boat Show offers non-stop splendor, set against the backdrop of Skaneateles’ fine boutiques, galleries and restaurants,” says 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, 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 6, 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, 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • 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 McClurg Building Corner kids activity, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
  • 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. Tickets are $17/adults, $7/children 12 and under. 
  • Raffle drawings, 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Prizes include a spa package from Mirbeau Inn & Spa, REV Theatre tickets, a gift basket from the Skaneateles Brewery, a Visit Syracuse gift 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.

For more information, go to skaneateles.com or facebook.com/skaneateleschamber/ or call 315-685-0552.

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