MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A lineup of some 700 boats threaded towards the Minneapolis Convention Center past huge piles of snow. On a sub-zero January day, it is a sight for sore eyes.
“It’s a way to get out of winter and think of spring, which is not that far away,” Boat Show manager, Darren Envall, said.
Marine dealers from the frozen Midwest are enticing us with visions of open water. Among the 200 exhibitors are glistening runabouts, big cruisers and family pontoons — lots and lots of pontoons.
“They’ve just come so far. It’s so fun to think about when I was a kid how they had the outdoor carpet and lawn chairs and a steering wheel. Now, they have everything from a lounge all the way up to a bar,” Envall said.
Since the recession ended, our obsession with boating has seen double-digit growth. Spending on boats and water recreation is a $35.6 billion dollar industry.
Cashing in on the boating business is Wayzata Marine, a company that’s been at the Boat Show from the beginning, 42 years ago.
“It gives customers a chance to come in and see all the different brands. And we think we fair well against everybody, so we’re excited to be here,” Wayzata Marine salesman David Briggs said.
In short order, hundreds of boats will be arranged on a showroom of carpet — from the classic old restored wooden boats to the coolest ski and wakeboarding tow boats.
But the greatest sight is for the winter weary, said Envall Transforming our 10,000 frozen lakes into glimmering dreams of summertime fun.
“We visualize (Lake Minnetonka) with boats out there, so it’s hard for us to see the ice. Yes, in a couple of months we’ll have open water,” Briggs said.
The 42nd annual Minneapolis Boat show begins on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. and runs through 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.