Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show on tap for Saturday

Celebrate the timeless beauty of classic vessels during the 40th annual Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show on Saturday.

A Classic Boat Corral and Auction will be held at the Maritime Museum on M-134 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

The fifth annual “Cool Rides — Waterside” Les Cheneaux Islands Car Show begins at noon, and this year’s featured car is the Pontiac GTO. Motorists can register at the Cedarville Library on Hodeck Street from 10 a.m. until noon. Vehicles will be on display from 12-4:30 p.m.; awards will be presented at 4:30 p.m.

After the car show, enjoy dinner — whitefish or chicken — hosted by the Cedarville Trojans Athletic Boosters from 5-7 p.m. at Cedarville High School.

Boat show activities will take place at the Hessel Marina on Saturday. Start the day with a pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m.

The official opening ceremony of the Antique Wooden Boat Show will start at 10 a.m.

“This is our 40th year, so we are showcasing the ‘Best of 40 Years,’ bringing back approximately 11 Best of Show winners from the previous 39 years,” said Barb Smith, one of the event’s co-chairs.

“From 1978 until 2001, the ‘Spectators’ Choice Best of Show’ was chosen by the public. From 2002 to present, the ‘Best of Show’ has been chosen by the Boat Show Judges and the People’s Choice Award by spectators,” she explained.

There will be lots of vessels on display at the marina.

“To date, we have 151 boats pre-registered in the show,” said Smith, adding that boats can be registered at the event on Saturday.

“Approximately one-third of the boats are from the Les Cheneaux Islands,” she added.

There are two feature boats this year.

“Breezing Thru, a 26-foot Hacker Craft, is owned by Chuck Letts who was one of the founders of the Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show back in 1978,” said Smith of one.

“The local history of Breezing Thru began at Les Cheneaux in 1930 when it was delivered to E.J. Mertaugh Boat Works in Hessel for Charles Letts Sr. Chuck Letts Jr. has many fond memories of learning to drive Breezing Thru as a youngster,” she elaborated. “In 1947 Charles Letts Sr. sold Breezing Thru. When Chuck Letts Jr. returned from World War II, he tried to find Breezing Thru and discovered it in Connecticut sitting in a field uncovered and deteriorating. He purchased it for $65 and brought it back to the Islands and had Tassier Boat Works totally rebuild the hull.”

“The 2017 boat show poster (created by artists Diana J. and John Grenier) depicts the Letts family enjoying a ride through the Islands on Breezing Thru,” she said.

“The second feature boat is Garfield, a 1932 Gar Wood triple cockpit runabout with a V12 engine owned by Bill Parfet of Bay Harbor,” added Smith.

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

“We have 64 artists coming to the Festival of Arts to display and sell a variety of artwork,” she explained. “This juried art show features some of the Midwest’s finest artists.”

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 by Lise White Friends.

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.

No dogs (except service animals) are allowed inside the gates. There is a $7 admission fee (children under the age of 12 may attend for free) 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, email lcha@lchistorical.org or visit lciboatshow.com.


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