As we enter into the lifestyle era of Woody Boater it seems right to start our show promotions with were it all began. Algonac Michigan..Woody Boater Mecca. Now, it’s not like going to another boat show…Wipe that from your pea brain.. It’s a pilgrimage…go to just go.. You can’t fully understand the way of life of a classic boat freak until you have dipped your heart into the aqua waters of Algonac. Had a good belly laugh with it’s natives, and seen the way of life that was the catalyst for our way of life. Deep stuff for a Saturday.. Dear god.. it’s just boats in the water. Go have fun.. Below is a summery of the show/pilgrimage…..
Algonac, Michigan has historically been an area that has attracted boating activity because of its geographic proximity to Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River and the “Flats”. It provides a large area of open water for all types of watercraft to travel, while still being somewhat sheltered from rough water and weather conditions. This is evidenced by it being the location of many boat builders such as Gar Wood and Chris Craft. The area still boasts a very large population of antique and classic boats and restoration shops, due to the history, inherent knowledge, and love of wood boats by many local boaters.
Algonac has long been host to an annual “Pickerel Festival” on July 4th weekend. In the 1970’s, this event also included an afternoon picnic at the waterfront home of B. A. “Bud” Aikens which was a congregation of all of his wood boat friends. The picnic would conclude with a parade of the attending boats down the St. Clair River, in front of City Park, with an announcer describing each boat and owner as they went by. In 1979, Bud and his friends founded the Michigan Chapter of the ACBS. The picnic continued to grow in popularity and number of boats, and since it could no longer be handled at Bud’s home, one of his friends, Pete Beauregard, suggested that the picnic move to his Algonac marina. Since the Algonac Harbour Club is also the location of the original Chris Craft plant, it seemed a fitting place for an annual event.
In 1985 the Algonac Antique and Classic Boat Show was born, and is now known as “The Chris Craft Plant Jamboree, Where It All Began”. Pete has continued to give the Chapter the use of his marina for what will be 26 consecutive years with the 2011 show. Bud still participates in the show with his 27Ft. Chris Craft Custom runabout “Flyin High”, and Pete will be displaying both his Dart and Chris Craft triple cockpit runabouts at this years show.
Since we Michigan Chapter members pride ourselves in using our boats regularly, the show includes a Friday afternoon cruise of the St. Clair Flats area, and a Sunday morning run down the South Channel for brunch at the Old Club on Harsens Island. Although there is no longer an annual parade, we did put a large flotilla together to celebrate the dedication of the “Legends of Algonac” statue at the 2010 show. Attendees and show participants can take a free shuttle provided by the Algonac Historical Society and view this beautiful statue of Chris Smith and Gar Wood, as well as tour the adjacent Algonac Museum.
The 2011 show is expected to include about 100 boats, with most displayed in the water, and 30 to 40 classic cars. We are fortunate to have participation by the Rolls Royce Club and Mercedes Club, along with the Packard Club, that are coming to the show to display their beautiful cars with Miss America X and her four Packard V12 engines.
So, in conclusion, we are anticipating seeing some new boats and welcoming their owners as we do every year, but we are also looking forward to seeing many of our old friends that have participated for many years. Some even fondly remember the great picnics that Bud Aikens had at his place many years ago!
For more information on the 26th Annual Chris-Craft Plant Jamboree in Algonac, Michigan including 2011 Boat Show Registration, Field of Dreams Registration, Schedule of Events, and Lodging you can go to the Michigan Chapter ACBS web site by clicking here.
Come out and join us in historic Algonac, Michigan
“Where It All Began”
Greg Lewandowski – Algonac Boat Show Chairman / Fellow Woody Boater