Jason and Trace Lawless, ages 6 and 5, raced each other up a short flight of steps onto a makeshift dock Saturday morning so they could board some of the hottest, newest boats at the ninth annual Baton Rouge Boat and Sport Show.
"Whoa - this is so cool," Jason exclaimed to his brother as their father and mother, Rodney and Jodi Lawless, of French Settlement, followed them onto the dock.
The elevated view showed hundreds of area residents, mostly families with children, browsing through dozens of boats on trailers being displayed in the second-floor exhibit hall at the River Center.
The craft varied from small, flat-bottomed fishing boats to mid-range bass boats to roomy pontoon party barges to elaborate, quarter-million dollar inboards.
Event manager Keith Parker of BK Productions of Athens, Ala., said the show began Friday and continues until 5 p.m. Sunday.
Parker said the event was proving to be profitable for the six area vendors, with several of them reporting sales at reduced prices.
Eric Hebert, a salesman from Cajun Outboards of Addis, said "attendance has been pretty brisk."
In spite of the uncertain economy, "our bigger, more expensive boats are still selling because people want the best regardless of the economy," he said.
John and Carol Easley, of Walker, and their twin sons, Jeremy and Jacob, 3, were looking at some Chaparral inboards displayed by Bent Marine.
Both boys were carrying kid-sized fishing rod and reel sets, given to the first 100 children on Saturday morning entering with a paying adult.
Carol Easley said she wanted the 244 Sunesta, marked down from $83,752 to $71,371, because the family had one just like it several years ago but sold it when they moved.
If they did get one, she said, they'd put it in the Diversion Canal. "I'd be in it all the time!" she added with a laugh.
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