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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

That 25th Anniversary St. Michaels Festival and its Vendors/Artists/Artisans...

We have done a lot of shows over the years. We've done a lot of kinds of shows over the years; art shows, carving shows, boat shows, various festivals, etc. They all have things that we like about them. Among the types of shows that we do are Antique & Classic Boat Shows (see our previous post). They are special to us, because the boats classified as "antique" and as "classic" can make for some very interesting subject matter for us.

Of these kinds of shows, we've gone from our homebase in Maryland to Virginia, Florida, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, California and other places. We do have a special place in our hearts for the one held right here in St. Michaels, Maryland. This is its 25th year; its "Silver Anniversary". It is known as the biggest antique and classic boat show in the Mid-Atlantic states.

Perhaps it is because the show is at home that makes it so appealing to us. Being a serious event in our home area we get to see the interplay between the show and the surrounding community, especially St. Michaels. If you don't know St. Michaels, it's much more than a nice place to visit. It's also not a bad drive from Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Annapolis, even New York. It has the Chesapeake Bay with its natural beauty, wildlife, scenery, historic places, museums, biking trails, boating, golf, etc., etc., etc.. It also has nice places to stay, great shopping and an ever growing selection of restaurants for a wide variety of palates (and budgets).

Certainly this is part of our favoritism for this show, but there is more. Every antique & classic show has special things about it. You can see certain differences related to the show's location. For example the famous Lake Dora, Florida show tends to have boats that are mainly under 30', because, for the most part, the boats come on trailers. They have a very large number of boats and they are from all parts of the U.S. and Canada. These tend to be "lake" boats, every one of them a great boat. It's held at a waterfront park with palm trees and Ibis.

The St. Michaels show also has a very large group of lake boats, but also many cruisers and motoryachts, because of its location on the Chesapeake, a body of water that supports ocean going and coastal vessels. Thus, there are boats from 8' to over 80' LOA. The environment at each show just has a different feel. St. Michaels has the feel of a coastal seaport.

...and the boats have a different feel...

It's held at The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum whose physical layout lends itself to this type of show with lots of grass for land displays and lots of docking space for the boats on display.

One of the things that I like best about the St. Michaels show is also its collection of vendors and artists. Antique & classic boats shows, if they have vendors, tend to draw high quality people with goods and services particularly suited to boaters and in some cases, specifically to those that love antique & classic boats. For example Jim Bassett is an engine expert and has original parts for older boats that are very difficult to find anymore. Since the boats are competing for best restoration to original condition, his parts, from step pads, to entire engines, could be the key to a great restoration. He also has things for boats of all eras and types and might have what you need to make your 1990's era boat work better.

We also have boat builders and restorers that have specific knowledge and abilities relating to older boats, especially wooden boats and their special requirements, including experience in the fine differences between a Century vs. a Garwood vs. a Trumpy Yacht. Among those experts are George Hazzard, Chad Brenner, Mast & Mallet, Will Ruhland, Jerry LeCompte, Dave Hannam and others. We have Chrome plating specialist Jim Wade and Rope specialist Jim Torbert.

We also have people that specialize in acquring original information, such as boat plans, catalogues and other documentation that help a boat restorer, amateur or professional to know the proper standards for the restoration to be done.

Then there are the Outboard specialists...

Basically, almost anything that you need for an older boat is available at this show. Most of these people also are specialists when it comes to modern boats, as well, and you will find that if you are a boater, most anything that you need is here at this show.

Another thing that I love about this show, and it's great for anyone that wants to come to the show, but has fear that they are "dragging" someone else around, is "The Arts at Navy Point".

The Arts at Navy Point is basically something that occurred naturally in the show's development about 17 years ago, when the first vendors came. Among them were a good number of artists. Painter Grover Cantwell, who you'll find in "the small boat building" was among them. We know because we were there, too and haven't missed a show since.

There is a natural connection between the beauty of these boats and the arts. Bringing one of these boats back to its original condition really is an art. Since the time of the first vendors, artists have been in attendance in increasing numbers and we have literally had some of the best in the business over the years. This year we have a long list and it is not possible to include them all, but some of the names include Mary Lou Troutman, John Ritter, Russ Orme, Jim Kinnett, Rebecca Lowe, and many more...

There are also Artisans, those who are artists, but may build things, or practice artistry in whatever they do, including marlinespike artist Vince Brennan, or Wildlife Carver Bill Hickson or the many model makers, authors, furniture makers, and, again, too much to describe here.

I recommend that you go to to see a list of who is coming to this year's show. It's very impressive!

There's not much more to say except that this is one great way to spend Father's Day. There is so much to see and do at the show, at The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum where it's held and in St. Michaels that you won't be saying to yourself "Been there, done that"; You'll be saying "I can't wait until next year!"

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