New London to host in-water boat show in June

New London - With winter on its last legs, it might be a good time to start thinking about a boat show on the city's waterfront.

There hasn't been one of those since 2010.

Barbara Neff, the city events coordinator who pulled together the Long Island Sound Boaters Expo four years ago, hopes to surpass that one-day event with a two-day show, June 21-22, at Waterfront Park, along City Pier and the floating docks.

Dozens of boat dealers, marinas and others are expected to participate, Neff said. Boats ranging in size from 15 to 60 feet will be displayed, as will a variety of accessories, equipment, electronics, gear and services for boaters.

The Coast Guard Academy Jazz Band will perform on the show's second day.

Neff began laying the groundwork for the event in January while attending the Connecticut Marine Trade Association's Hartford Boat Show at the Connecticut Convention Center.

"We went to all the dealers there and asked them if they'd be interested in coming to a show in southeastern Connecticut," Neff said. "The response was overwhelming."

Invitations to the New London event went out about a week ago, and many have already been returned. Nearly all of the available in-water space for the show has been booked. Boats also will be exhibited on land.

Neff recalled that the 2010 show, held before the city installed the floating docks near City Pier, featured some 30 booths.

"We hope to have at least that many this year," she said.

After the boat show, Neff expects to fill dates on the city's waterfront calendar with another Sailfest celebration in July, a boaters' benefit "poker run" in August and a barbecue cook-off in September.

The New London In-Water Boat Show is scheduled to run from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 21, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 22.

Admission will be free.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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