Wooden Boat Show Celebrates 27th Year in Georgetown, SC
Event Snagged Prestigious Awards
By Kimberly Duncan
Water-related and otherwise, the Hammock Coast possesses delights for every season in every year. Ocean, river, creeks and boats – and all requisite trappings – are central to the region’s history and traditions. And they’re central to the port city of Georgetown’s annual Wooden Boat Show, too. The Boot show pulls thousands to the southern end of SC’s Grand Strand – and there are as many residents as visitors among the happy crowd. When you live in one of the world’s most popular seaside locations, that’s the mark of an event that cannot be missed.
Always held on the third weekend of October, 2016 marks the Wooden Boat Show’s 27th year! Its place is secure as one of the port city’s finest fall pleasures and – given twenty-six years in the making – this year’s event will be better than ever. That’s no small feat as the two-day show has already won awards that include the Charles A. Bundy Award, SC Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Travel 2014 and the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for four consecutive years.
It is appropriate that historic Georgetown – sometimes called “Little Charleston” – hosts this crazy popular event. Here in SC’s beloved Lowcountry, four rivers tumble into Winyah Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. A fifth river enters the ocean just a tad south of Georgetown. There’s water, water everywhere, including hundreds of creeks, salt marsh habitats, cypress swamps, and old rice fields and canals.
The Harbor Historical Association of Georgetown will present the 27th Annual Wooden Boat Show on Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16. Admission is free! As always, this year’s show will showcase the Southeast’s – if not the nation’s! – most praised wooden boat exhibits. On land and water, there will be nearly 150 classic wooden boats on display. There will also be model boat building and knot tying classes (for kids) and lots of vendors with maritime arts, crafts, jewelry and music, too.
The Show’s most beloved attraction is Saturday’s Wooden Boat Challenge. Two-person teams race to build a rowing skiff within four hours. Then they test their boats for seaworthiness in a rousing relay on the Sampit River where crowds cheer from Georgetown’s Harborwalk. Cash prizes hang in the balance and competition is fierce – and fun!
This year, for the first time, a new signature event – the Cardboard Boat Regatta – will be part of “Sunday at the Show.” Families, businesses, schools, youth groups, friends, and nonprofits are invited to design and build a boat from corrugated box material. Sky’s the limit. Using imagination (and perhaps Google), participants will create vessels from simple sailing crafts to stunning “ships” or plain vanilla rubber ducks. A Pride of the Fleet award will be bestowed to the vessel with the most innovative engineering and artistic design. There will be other awards for outstanding theme, team participation and crowd support. The dubious honor – the Titanic Ribbon – will be awarded for the most dramatic sinking.
Attendees are able to talk to wooden boat craftsmen, manufacturers and owners. Events and entertainment are scheduled on the waterfront and along Front Street in Historic Downtown Georgetown. Add great restaurants and shopping to the equation, and – for a day or a long weekend – it adds up to a fabulous fall getaway perfect for boaters, sportsmen, couples and grown-ups with kids in tow. Tons of fun any way you slice it!
For schedules and other important information, visit the website at WoodenBoatShow.com or the event’s beneficiary, SCMaritimeMuseum.org. (The Maritime Museum is one of four must-see museums located Downtown and within walking distance one from another!) Here are links to where to eat, where to stay and other trouble you might want to get into, 🙂