OCEAN CITY – Despite the cold temperatures, visitors and residents this weekend will get the chance to think of warmer days with the 35th Annual Seaside Boat Show.
Beginning Friday, Feb. 16, the Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club will kick off its Seaside Boat Show at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.
As in years past, the Seaside Boat Show will feature more than 350 boats, 150 exhibitors and 50 boat dealers throughout Presidents Day weekend.
Visitors will have the opportunity to see the newest and most popular models in the industry, including sport cruisers, sport fishing, performance and “super boats” and receive special show prices from numerous dealers and exhibitors.
In addition to boats, exhibits will include marine electronics, trailers, canvas tops, motors, jewelry, artwork, fishing gear and more.
Charles Smith, president of the Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club and spokesman for the Seaside Boat Show, said he expects the event to draw more than 12,000 participants over the weekend. The large number of boats sold at the show each year makes it one of the most popular events of its kind on the east coast.
“It has anything you could think of,” he said, adding that finance and insurance companies will also be on hand to facilitate boat purchases.
The Seaside Boat Show is dubbed the “boat show that works for kids.” Smith said all proceeds raised from the event will allow the Optimist Club to support local youth in the form of contests, awards banquets, scholarships and more. Over the last three decades, for example, the Optimist Club has provided $1.8 million in scholarships from the boat show lottery.
“We use 100 percent of the proceeds to support children’s programs,” he said. “A lot of people come because they know who we are and what we do, and they love to help.”
Smith noted that income from the boat show also supports community service programs, including recreation and parks departments, Diakonia, Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, 4steps Therapeutic Riding Program and more.
“We don’t reach into our pockets,” he said. “We try and raise funds.”
Smith encouraged the community to attend the Seaside Boat Show.
“There are a lot of things people can do,” he said. “They can also come out and support our kids.”
The Seaside Boat Show will be open on Friday, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale at the convention center throughout the weekend. Admission is $10 for adults, $1 for children and $15 for a weekend pass.
Those who purchase an admission ticket will also have the chance to win a pontoon boat and motor donated by North Bay Marina owners Scott and Mary McCurdy. The winner will be announced at a drawing at the conclusion of the event on Sunday afternoon.
Guests can also purchase raffle tickets to benefit the club’s scholarship program at the show. First, second and third place winners will receive cash prizes.
For more information on the Seaside Boat Show, or for a list of vendors, visit ocboatshow.com.
The Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club has more than 120 members and is recognized as one of the best clubs in the Optimist International organization. The local affiliate has served the community since 1972.
For more information on the Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club, visit www.ocberlinoptimist.org.