Full speed ahead for shows and special events

David Gee Boating Industry
Boating Industry editor-in-chief watches Jordan Spieth at the BMW Championships PGA event

By David Gee

Recently I have turned from a golf fan, into a bit of a fanatic. For most of my adult life, golfing just interfered with slalom sets and wake surfing. I figured any time I could be on the golf course, I could also be on our boat, and I preferred the latter to the former.

I certainly have not given up on the lake life, but I am attracted to the continual challenges and nuances and intricacies of golf. It's also a bonus that when I make a mistake on the golf course it doesn't result in 40-mile-an-hour cartwheels across the water, leaving me with broken or bruised ribs, or worse.

This past weekend I was fortunate to be able to get to the BMW Championships near Baltimore, the penultimate event of a long PGA season. And what an event it was. Golf fan or not, you might have heard about an epic six-hole playoff battle between eventual winner Patrick Cantlay and polarizing love-him-or-hate-him Bryson DeChambeau. It was a great spectacle though and the thousands of fans enjoyed the show. 

I really enjoyed the show as well. Not just the golf, but the entire experience. The concession stands were well staffed and full of good food, there were tons of portable bathrooms, the merchandise tents sold down to the bare walls - literally - by Sunday, there were BMWs and other sponsor products on display, and it was just really cool to be there and share in the excitement of it all.

The recreational boating industry certainly seems excited about upcoming shows and getting the industry together.

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As I wrote about, I attended my first-ever ICAST fishing show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and was amazed at the turnout on both the attendee and exhibitor sides.

More recently, the Marine Industry Association of Central Florida just held its Orlando Boat Show, also at the OCCC, and it turned out to be the strongest fall show for attendance and sales they ever had.

All of that bodes well for us as we prepare to say farewell to summer and enter a busy fall season of shows and special events.

IBEX has a full slate of sessions and seminars and excitement seems to be running high for that show at the end of September.

Informa, which produces the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), recently announced the show, scheduled for October 27-31, 2021, at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, is on track for a record year.

“The Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show is seeing increased demand for exhibitor space, and attendee tickets are selling at a record pace," stated Andrew Doole, President, US Boat Shows, Informa Markets.

And at the risk of a little self-promotion, in November Boating Industry holds the third annual ELEVATE Summit Conference. We have two-and-a-half days of great speakers, breakout sessions, networking events, and great content you don't want to miss.

Of course, we have been down this road before, and a global pandemic had other plans. But everyone I talk to is cautiously optimistic about our ability to travel and convene and realize the value of community as we gather at the shows and special events.

With that, enjoy the waning days of summer, a long holiday weekend, and hope to see you soon!

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