By Howard Meyerson
Michigan’s wood boat building history comes to life every summer in Great Lakes shoreline communities.
It’s a time when quaint harbor towns celebrate the state’s boating heritage with wooden boat shows that showcase the gleaming varnish finishes of Michigan-made and other classics.
If you like antique wooden boats, consider checking one out. The shows are a perfect stop during any planned Michigan vacation, a day of fun and festivity.
“It’s a happening. People love to see them come in from the islands or watch them getting launched,” said Barb Smith, co-chair for the 36th Annual Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show and Festival of Arts from August 9-11. The show is held in the eastern Upper Peninsula town of Hessel.
“It’s exciting to see the old woodies come in. We had a big fog here a few years ago and you could hear them coming, but couldn’t see them. Then they motored in out of the fog.”
The Hessel show is Michigan’s largest wooden boat show with 130 or more boats on display, most of which float at docks that can be toured. The show is sponsored by the Les Cheneaux Historical Association.
More shows listed below. See calendar.