A Front Row Seat to the Boat Shows

By Meg Walburn Viviano

Welcome to October! It’s that crisp time of year when autumn really hits its stride, and we get to breathe in the sights, sounds and smells that are unequivocally tied to the change of seasons.

For some people, it’s the smell of wet grass at a high school football game under the lights. For others, it’s the first falling leaves and the “thunk” of acorns raining down from treetops. And for most boaters in Chesapeake Country, October has long been associated with the Annapolis Boat Shows.

Going back more than 50 years, these boat shows take over City Dock and downtown Annapolis, bringing the excitement of hundreds of shiny new boats and an amazing labyrinth of floating docks that makes Ego Alley almost unrecognizable. The U.S. Powerboat Show and Sailboat Show are billed as the nation’s largest in-water boat shows, and with the boats come booth upon booth of boating gear, apparel, tech tools, and boating lifestyle brands.

Though I grew up as a through-and-through boater just 15 minutes outside Annapolis, I didn’t attend my first show until I was an adult, helping to man the booth for our parent company, Chesapeake Bay Media (CBM). My parents weren’t big on crowds or parking downtown. Even on weekend boat trips, they’d always choose a quiet anchorage over a happening harbor.

I’m an extrovert who loves to be where the action is, and I’ve quickly learned that the boat shows (first up this weekend, the powerboat show!) are right in the middle of the action. CBM has been at the boat shows for decades and has produced the show programs since 1998. This year is the first that shows have been held since CBM brought Bay Weekly into the fold, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that we’ll be sharing a booth. Stop by our outdoor “crab-shack” style tent (#59A on Dock J2) to meet our team, pick up extra copies of CBM Bay Weekly, thumb through Chesapeake Bay Magazine, and take advantage of our charging stations and comfy Adirondack chairs.

In this issue you’ll find an insider’s guide to getting the best out of your boat show experience, along with a helpful show map and seminar schedule. With the surge in the popularity of boating, it’s a fun time to shop (or window shop, or just daydream…). We look forward to seeing you there!

And if boating isn’t your thing, never fear: this issue of Bay Weekly is also chockful of the community content you know and love. From a new playground in Dunkirk to choosing a tree to plant in Annapolis, there’s lots to do in Chesapeake Country by land as well as by sea.