Vintage crafts thrill at Portage Lakes boat show
|The Portage Lakes Antique and Classic Boat Show features dozens of boats on display, as shown at last year’s show.|
|Photo: Lew Stamp|
Show chairman Bud Long, of Green, said the show, which is free to attend, usually attracts about 5,000 people throughout the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. event. About 55 boats are expected to be on display, he added.
“It’s kind of a kick off to the Fourth of July weekend, which is a big deal here at the Portage Lakes,” Long said. “It’s generally speaking some of the nicest weather we have, the beginning of the true summer season for us Ohioans. And it’s just a great venue.”
The show takes place at the docks at On Tap at the Harbor, 562 Portage Lakes Drive, and Nicoletti’s at Park Place, 530 Portage Lakes Drive. Both restaurants are new and preparing for the big crowds the show usually brings, Long said. He added the area boasts ample parking and a short walk to the docks.
“The boats each year become more and more spectacular,” he said.
In its earliest years, the show was organized by the Portage Lakes Historical Society, Long said. It started out with about 15 or 20 boats, he added, and has grown from there. The event is now put on by the North Coast Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, with the historical society a co-sponsor.
This year’s show will feature a focus on boats by Century.
“Century has always been a unique boat,” Long said. “They were manufactured during the heyday of wooden boats, and they decided to really jazz their boats up with a lot of chrome.”
Expected to be on view at the show is a 1956 Century Coronado model that owner Ray McFarland purchased in 2009 in poor condition. He began restoring the boat that year, which entailed replacing almost all the boat’s woodwork one piece at a time, according to organizers.
Another rare 1940s-era Century also will be on display. Owner Larry Prebis found the 17-foot 1942 Century Sea Maid in a farmer’s field near his home in Seville 14 years ago. After much negotiation, he finally got the farmer to agree to sell him the boat. Prebis had to replace nearly all the wood on the boat and find an original model engine to rebuild in his restoration of the craft, a project that took him thousands of hours, according to show organizers.
A Portage Lakes boat, a 1950 Century Imperial owned by Terry Egert Jr., won an award at last year’s show, and it will be back at this year’s event, organizers said.
For the show, Long said antique boats are those that were made before 1951. Classic boats are those models from 1951 to 1968. The show also features what organizers call “fiber classics,” which are fiberglass boats made in the 1970s.
Long added that in previous years, boats have come from several states to participate in the show. Those who attend the show are welcome to view the boats and talk with their owners during the event.
Also taking place later that night will be the sixth annual Portage Lakes Fireworks Association’s Light Up the Lakes Evening Boat Parade. Boats may begin to line up at 9:30 p.m. in front of Akron Rotary Camp on Rex Lake. Judges will award prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000 for the best lighting on boats. For more information on that, go to www.portagelakes.com.
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