April 25, 2018
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Bangor boat show one sure sign of spring

By Dale McGarrigle, Of The Weekly Staff

BANGOR — It’s one of the signs of spring.

Sure, it’s not a robin or tender shoots pushing up through the ground, but it does make people think of warmer, more pleasant times.

“It” is the 27th Annual Bangor Boating and Marine Show, which will be held 2-8 p.m., Friday, March 23; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, March 24; and 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, March 25, at the Bass Park complex.

“We always say the ice is out on Lake Bangor [the 16-foot wading pool at the show],” said Mike Dyer, Bass Park executive director. “People are starting to think that it is possible that winter is on its way out.”

Dyer sees the weekend as “the ultimate dream show.”

“A boat promises relaxation,” Dyer said. “People come here and think, ‘One of these days, I’ll get one of these.’ ”

The products on display will fill both the auditorium and civic center, with the bigger boats parked outside. There’s something within most people’s budgets, with prices ranging from $200 to $300 for canoes up to $40,000-$50,000 boats.

The show prize is a 18-foot handmade Maine Guide cedar-canvas canoe, made by Fred Crossman of Bucksport.

The show has evolved through the years, in an effort to draw a more diverse group of attendees. One big addition has been the Paddle Smart Symposium, now in its 12th year. This event includes canoeing and kayaking demonstrations, lectures, gear, and workshops.

There’s also a trout fishing pond and Bwana Jim’s Wildlife and Reptile Show for children.

“We have seen a lot more families in recent years, because of the programming,” Dyer said. “Paddle Smart has brought in the younger adult demographic. We’ve successfully broadened the spectrum of the attendees, from young children to retirees looking to upgrade something at their camp.”

The show gets dealers thinking spring as well.

Mike Dalton of McKay’s RV in Holden has been at the show for 17 years. “It’s a great show because you get that spring feeling,” he said. “It’s generally after Daylight Savings Time starts, and it gets everybody in that spring fever mode and creates a lot of energy. Also it kicks off our sales season, as we do a fair amount of sales at the show.”

Dyer is looking forward to this year’s show. “The show has done very well over the years,” he said. “I’m optimistic there will be a lot of people out for the show.”

Admission to the Bangor Boating and Marine Show is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult.

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