Beauty on the waterfront: The 35th annual Antique Wooden Boat Show

Celebrate the timeless beauty of classic vessels during the 35th annual Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show on Saturday, August 11.

Festivities begin bright and early Saturday morning, with a pancake breakfast at the Hessel Marina from 7-11 a.m.

The show, which averages 150 entries each year, is one of the largest featuring antique and classic wooden boats.

All boats (cruisers, runabouts, sailboats) will be displayed in the water at Hessel Marina except for the canoes, dinghies and kayaks.

“The oldest boat to register this year is an 1895 30-foot Truscott Launch owned by Ralph and Petra Shoberg, who summer in the Les Cheneaux Islands,” said Barb Smith, who‘s co-chairing the event along with Shirley Jewell.

Opening ceremonies for the show begin at 10 a.m. 

“This year, weather permitting, we will have the Michigan Stearman fly over in their World War II Trainers,” said Smith. “It is quite unique to have the antique bi-planes flying over the antique wooden boats. Wood is also an important component of the Stearman, in that their wing structure is comprised of mahogany and spruce.”

The Stearman pilots, who will be attending the show, are also slated to fly over as they leave in the afternoon.

New this year is the “Classic Glass” category, a special class of non-wood boats. These vessels are all production boats built before 1975 and are less than 24 feet in length.

“Our feature boats are called ‘Sugar’ and ‘Snips’ and are owned by the Reid family,” said Smith. “They are twin 1927 26-foot Chris Craft runabouts. One of the things that make them so unique is that they came off the assembly line one after the other. ‘Sugar’ is hull number 448 and ‘Snips’ is hull number 449.”

“After spending many years apart and going in separate directions, they now reside together again some 85 years later,” said Smith. Both have been refinished by Classic and Antique Boats in Hessel.

The Festival of Arts, held each year in conjunction with the Antique Wooden Boat Show, will be held on the waterfront from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A wide variety of arts and crafts vendors will be on hand with photographs, paintings, pottery, textiles, jewelry, wooden toys and many other items for sale. The annual Antique Wooden Boat Show posters, created by artists Diana J. and John Grenier, will also be available for sale.

Dockside Traders — a special sales area featuring antique boat products and related materials — will be on site, too.

Entertainment will be provided throughout the day, including performances the Sault Swing Band.
Arnold Transit Co. will host two separate channel cruises exploring the Les Cheneaux Islands on Lake Huron at noon and again at 2:30 p.m. Spectators may purchase tickets at the Antique Wooden Boat Show.

The event concludes with the awards ceremony at 4 p.m.

“The show could not be successful without our over 300 dedicated volunteers who give much in terms of time and energy to put on this event,” said Smith.

There is an admission fee to attend the Antique Wooden Boat Show. All proceeds go to the Les Cheneaux Historical Association and are used to maintain and enhance the Historical and Maritime Museums, both of which are located in Cedarville.

For more information on the Antique Wooden Boat Show and Festival of Arts, please contact the Les Cheneaux Historical Association by calling (906) 484-2821.

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