Show producers try out Sailfest concept

CHICAGO – As a means of stimulating sales and providing additional opportunities for sailing industry businesses, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Sail America are launching a new “Sailfest” venture at two upcoming NMMA consumer boat shows, the associations reported in a statement today.

Those shows are the Virginia In-Water Boat Expo, taking place September 14-16; and the Baltimore Boat Show, being held January 23-27, 2008.

In addition to adding the “& Sailfest” tag to the end of boat show titles, the new show format will feature a mini Strictly Sail show including: sailboats, gear and accessories; sailing seminars; and other special sailing-related events. The Sailfest shows will be marketed to attract sailors in both the Norfolk, Virginia and Baltimore regions and complement existing show advertising to promote the two events, the associations reported.

“Sailfest was created as a response to boat show attendees asking to see more sailboats at shows where powerboats were primarily featured, as well as a strong desire on the part of exhibitors seeking ways to get their products in front of a larger audience” explained Kevin Murphy, national show manager for Sail America and the Strictly Sail events. “The overall goal of adding a more sail-focused component to these two events is simply to expose Sail America members’ products to more potential buyers.”

Murphy said the Virginia and Baltimore events are test cases for the Sailfest show. If the concept proves successful, the plan is to incorporate additional sail-focused components into future NMMA-produced consumer boat shows and events.

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