Detroit Boat Show to include career day, water skiing squirrel

The Feb. 17-25 show will span 450,000 square feet — 50,000 more than last year — with more than 100 vendors displaying boats of all sizes, styles and prices, said Amanda Wendecker, spokeswoman for Michigan Boating Industries Association, which produces the show.

Wendecker said she expects 70,000 people to attend the show. Last year’s official count was 69,169.

The show is a way for winter-weary metro Detroiters to look past frigid weather into a future of warm temperatures and open water and, as such, is prime for sales, Wendecker said. An estimated $50 million in sales are done during the show, with many dealers attributing up to half of their total annual revenue to the show.

Michigan’s boating industry is maintaining its growth since the recession, with more than $835 million spent in the past year on new boats, trailers and related accessories. The state is holding strong as the third largest marine market in the country.

New at this year’s show is a career day Feb. 22 intended to fill positions such as marine technicians and sales. High school and college students from around the Great Lakes region are invited to attend free of charge that day.

In addition, Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel — who has become something of an internet sensation and performed in front of millions of people at events across the country — will be shredding the waves during the show. The new Wake Rail Jam produced by Step Up Productions will feature a 50,000-gallon pool in which competitors are pulled across the course via gas-powered winch.

The show is sponsored by Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine, the Courtyard Detroit Downtown and Michigan Golf Cart.

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