In a world in which everything has changed, at least one thing remains constant—the grand tradition of antique boating and boat owners’ desire to share it with the public.
Despite the fact that this year’s Antique and Classic Boat Show in Skaneateles has been canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, members of the Finger Lakes Chapter (FLC) of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, in partnership with the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, will further that tradition in the organizations’ first-ever Virtual Boat Show July 20-26.
“Although we will miss seeing everyone in person, we’re excited that fans will be able to enjoy the show from anywhere,” said Hilary Fenner, executive director of the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s all about community—this year more than ever.”
Through dozens of write-ups, videos, photos and audio recordings, exhibitors and members of the Boat Show planning committee will share memories of shows past.
Arnie Rubenstein of Fayetteville and Skaneateles tells of racing antique boats with his son for more than 20 years. Teddi Myllymaki of Baldwinsville shares how she got involved with FLC and its Boat Show through her late husband; three years after his passing, she met her now-fiancee, Jerry Hardwich of Tavares, Fla., through the show.
H. Jay Spiegel of Mount Vernon, Va., tells the story of his boat, The Sheik, a one-of-a-kind replica of a 1920s Gold Cup racer that won Best Race Boat honors at FLC’s 2019 show, while Walt Weir of Harveys Lake, Pa., relays the story of Believer, a 1941 Chris-Craft barrelback that honors his wife’s struggle with cancer.
In his video, Dave Freund of Syracuse celebrates the 50th birthday of his boat Tradition II, a 1970 Lyman first displayed at FLC’s 2000 show. He reflects: “Sometimes at boat shows it rains, and sometimes there’s sun, but we all really know what we love best—and that is quite simply to hear these old boats run.”
The event will include musical performances by Boat Show favorites Diana Jacobs, the Soda Ash Six and Way Off Bass.
Children’s activities are scheduled, with toy wooden boats and markers sold at the Chamber of Commerce ($12) and a Bubbleman Video Show offered through Maxwell Memorial Library.
An online ship’s store will feature Boat Show posters from past years, along with FLC merchandise. A dollar from the sale of each poster will benefit the Town of Skaneateles Outreach COVID-19 Relief Fund.
As always, viewers will be invited to vote on their favorite boat for the People’s Choice Award; the winner will be announced live at 2 p.m. Sunday. New this year is a category for Best Boat Name.
“This virtual event will provide a great opportunity for us to collect and display memories from our 40-plus years of shows and pay tribute to members who have passed on,” said FLC president Rick Nelson. “Next summer, we hope to be able to welcome everyone back to Clift Park.”
M&T Bank, a supporter of the show since 1994, is presenting sponsor of the Virtual Boat Show.