Thanks to fellow Woody Boater and reporter Kentucky Wonder for reporting in from Lake Hartwell. Take it away Mr Wonder.
This year’s edition of the Lake Hartwell boat show was held Thursday-Sunday at the Hartwell Marina in Hartwell, GA. The show was sponsored by the Blue Ridge Chapter ACBS along with the Hart County Chamber of Commerce. Classic boaters from several states attended, many getting their boats into the water for the first time this year. The show also featured dozens of classic and modern automobiles, plus several arts, crafts and food vendors.
Beautiful weather brightened the mood and bolstered attendance, as more than 450 cars filled with spectators were ushered into the parking lots. Shuttle buses eased traffic congestion, and let out passengers right at the dock where free admission allowed anyone to enjoy the day, and get a good look at both marine and automotive history.
The Blue Ridge Chapter ACBS has proven itself to be a friendly and helpful group of people, welcoming several new members to the show over the weekend, and assisting anyone who needed help. Launching crews were at the ready, and members always lent a hand when a boat approached the docks. Funny stories from past shows flowed freely, and laughter was a common sound.
Thursday featured a boat run to April and John Heiderich’s home across the lake for great food, drinks and conversation. The excellent beef tenderloin and seared tuna foreshadowed a weekend filled with great meals.
Friday was put-in day for most boaters, and a long cruise up the lake to Clemson, SC was planned. Alas, high winds whipped up the lake water, making a water trip less than smooth, so most boaters became automobile passengers. Craig Miller, Bill Lovejoy and I were the only ones who decided to go by water. Craig’s 24 Sportsman was certainly capable of getting through the chop easily enough, but a late start and an oil leak kept us from making our lunch rendezvous. Still, we had a good time, and the skipped lunch left more room for dinner later.
Julie and Dennis Moore hosted Friday night’s festivities at their Boat Barn, which is a place where old cars and boats get rejuvenated and sometimes supercharged. If you ever meet Dennis, ask him about the drag racers he built for his son. I think every conversation I have had with Dennis has included the displacement and horsepower figures of at least one engine block. Gears are part of his DNA. Anyway, Cedric Martin was the man at the grill, and he knows how to use it. The ribs he cooked had the perfect combination of smoke, sauce, tenderness and time. Perfect. Bill, Craig and I declared ourselves to be the quality control board, and sampled the ribs as they came off the grill. I lost track of how much we ate, but there was plenty of leftovers for the rest of the nearly 90 people in attendance.
Saturday morning brought more sunshine, a smidge less wind, and a large number of people to the docks. Many of the boat owners stayed close to their crafts, and answered questions about its origin, restoration or anything else that came up. About once per hour, Charles Mistele would fire up Miss America IX’s engines, and everyone on the property would instantly know which boat just started. The boats in the sunlight had an advantage over those in the covered slips – they were warm. People gathered in several of the sunlit boats just to talk and enjoy each other’s company.
Saturday night’s banquet was well attended, and those who got sun- and wind-burned during the day were starting to glow, this reporter included. The Blue Ridge Chapter is excellent at making everyone feel welcome, and so new members were recognized, along with those receiving awards in various categories. (list included below) Afterwards, the room slowly emptied as more stories were retold, friendships cemented and vows to see everyone at the next show made.
Sunday morning proved to be the best time to be out on the water, as little wind, plentiful sunlight and a calm surface mixed to form perfect atmosphere for a run around the lake. The Chapter provided snack breakfast bags for all, and we took to the water to enjoy what our boats are supposed to do – get out and perform. After an hour, the boat retrieval crew got busy, and all boats were headed home. See you next time!
2016 Hartwell Antique Boat Festival Awards as picked by captains of registered boats
Skippers Choice Purple Haze (1948 Shepherd) Phillip Jones
I Want That One Gad A Bout (2009 Homebuilt) Patricia and David Nisbett
Best Runabout Halleyluiah (1957 Chris-Craft Capri) Beth and Ed Halley
Best Utility Miss Nina (1956 Chris-Craft Holiday) Libby and Pat Mac Rae
Best Contemporary Linda Ann (1975 Modified Arabian) Linda and Bob Smith
Best PreWar Pal (1918 HackerCraft Runabout) Tom Neff and Brenda Highsmith
Best PostWar Eau! Canada (1949 Greavette Runabout) Anne and Bryan Leazenby
Best Outboard Blue Boy (1961 Glassmaster) Dan Miller
Best Century Fleetwood (1958 Century Arabian) Myrna and Ben Huizinga
Best Chris-Craft Brown Eyed Girl (1960 Sportsman 24) Beth and Craig Miller
Boat Enthusiasts Diane and Charles Mistele
Old Boats, Old Friends June and Tom Riggle
Fred Thomas Best Antique Boater of the Year Mary Jo and Gary Fesperman
Best of Show (chosen by show patrons; 35 different boats received votes) Eau! Canada (1949 Greavette Runabout)