January 21, 2020

WoodenBoat Show attendance up

BROOKLIN — Attendance at this year’s WoodenBoat Show, held July 29-31 in Southwest Harbor, exceeded last year’s show in Newport, R.I., by 30 percent.

More than 9,700 people attended the show, according to Valerie LaFrance, WoodenBoat Show manager. The figure represents nearly a one-third increase over 7,500 in last year’s show.

“When we first started to plan for this year’s show we used figures from past years’ attendance and decided that we’d get at least 4,000 people to Southwest Harbor,” LaFrance said.

WoodenBoat attributes the high attendance to the midsummer date as well as to the Down East location.

Exhibitors and attendees centered their family vacations on the Southwest Harbor show. The show also kicked off a weeklong series of events celebrating WoodenBoat magazine’s 20th anniversary. Many visitors toured the company’s headquarters in Brooklin or watched the 130-boat Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on Aug. 6.

With the 1994 show behind them, WoodenBoat is looking toward 1995.

“Our surveys at the 1993 show proved that most of the attendees are WoodenBoat readers, and that they typically don’t attend other boat shows,” LaFrance said. “The surveys also indicated that we were pulling in an international audience. So we knew we had a highly qualified, unique crowd, one that would be willing to follow the show to new venues.”

One possible idea for next year is an autumn show on Chesapeake Bay. A decision on the date and location will be made in the fall.

The WoodenBoat Show is produced by WoodenBoat Publications in Brooklin, publishers of WoodenBoat magazine.

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