Boaters dream of spring at show

March 2011 News

It might have been snowing outside, but inside the talk was of sun, sand and the coming spring.

Six marinas on Saturday brought some of their hottest new boats to Kellogg Arena's 2011 Boat Show.

There were fishing boats, pontoon floats and personal watercraft on display.

Snapping a photo of his dream boat, Paw Paw's Mike Opalka said he came looking for a vessel that could withstand Lake Michigan waves.

Opalka has fond memories of fishing from the age of 5 with his dad in the Manistee area.

Now as a father himself, he wants to share that kind of experience with his 6-year-old daughter.

"We're just out to have fun," he said.

His daughter Katie scampered from one boat to another. The young fashionista made her opinions known.

"She said, 'Dad, I can't see myself in this,'" Opalka said, laughing. "I just wish they had more boats to show."

Dani Kinder, event coordinator and manager of Double L Bait and Marine in Vicksburg, said the six marinas brought about 40 boats to the show.

The 2011 Boat Show continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $4 each. Children age 10 and younger are free.

Some people come ready to buy, Kinder said. Some are there to research their options and some are there just to dream.

After boat sales dipped in 2009 with the economic recession, Kinder said buyers have started to come back.


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