BANGOR, Maine — The latest in fishing boats, bass boats, pontoon boats, kayaks, docks and trailers and more are among the products being featured this weekend at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center.
Sportsmen and recreational boaters can find pretty much anything that floats their boats during the annual Bangor Boating and Marine Show, which kicked off early Friday afternoon and runs through late Sunday afternoon.
Though the economy is still less than robust, Bass Park Director Mike Dyer said Friday that the show has not seen a decrease in the number of commercial vendors or in the number of educational, public service and other organizations.
That’s likely in part because the vendors continue to have access to co-op advertising dollars and other support from manufacturers, he said. The loss of such support was cited as the reason for the cancellation of the annual Bangor Camping and RV Show, which usually takes place each January.
“Obviously there’s still some concern about the economy, but this is Maine so boats are important,” Dyer said.
Though foot traffic was slow during the show’s first few hours early Friday afternoon, activity was expected to pick up as people got off work later in the day. The show’s busiest day historically has been Saturday, Dyer said, adding the three-day show typically attracts 3,500 to 3,700 attendees each year.
While some come to the show to dream and drool, Dyer said some vendors have told him they’ve sold as many as 20 boats during the show.
“They must be selling something because they come back year after year,” he said.
Pat Jude of Branch Pond Marine is among those who are optimistic about the 2010 sales season.
“We’re seeing some pretty decent activity so far this year,” he said. “People are ready and anxious to get out this spring,” he said, adding that after a few years of uncertainty, Mainers seem ready to buy.
This year, Dyer said, vendors are allowed to sell new 2009 models at discount prices, which could mean some pretty good deals for otherwise reluctant buyers.
For the younger set, Dyer said, the city took it upon itself to bring back “Lake Bangor,” a large swimming pool stocked with 8-inch to 10-inch rainbow trout. There, children under age 12 try their hand at landing a fish, which they can take home or release for someone else to catch.