Door County Classic & Wooden Boat Show presents a challenge of boating beauty and fun

STURGEON BAY – Beautiful classic boats – and some new handmade boats that probably aren’t so pretty but are fun to see in action – are among the highlights of this weekend’s Door County Classic and Wooden Boat Show .

The 31st annual show takes place on the grounds and in the waters bordering the Door County Maritime Museum, 120 N. Madison Ave., which features the event annually. It features many classic ships to see on land and on water, as well as the popular Sikaflex Challenge boat building and water trial competition.

As in the past, an assortment of personal watercraft will be available to view. Fiberglass and mahogany runabouts, sailboats, kayaks and canoes will be on display, some professionally built while others are handcrafted, and all registered participants compete for prizes and ribbons.

Perhaps the most fun part of the show, the Sikaflex Build-a-Boat Challenge has teams of two who spend Saturday building and decorating a boat with limited materials and Sikaflex Nautical Adhesive, almost always with a kind of fun, creative, often self-deprecating theme and flair.

The teams then put their newly built boats into the Sturgeon Bay channel for the sea trial/race at 1 p.m. Sunday, which usually brings varying results on their ability to float. Prizes are awarded for the boats themselves and their ability to stay above the surface of the water.

The Balloonatics team try to keep their heads above water with the boat they built the day before in the sea trial part of the Sikaflex Challenge 2021, a traditional and usually fun part of the Classic and Wooden Boat Show at the Door County Maritime Museum.  (And, yes, it's an Amphicar, a frequent visitor to the show, in the water behind the boat).

Among other attractions at the show, some of the show’s classic boats will offer free short rides to children and parents. Other activities for children include boat building, crafts and games.

The museum will also be open during the festival, for its normal admission prices, with an extra charge to visit the tugboat John Purves which is moored outside the museum. It’s your chance to experience the new, reimagined exhibits in the museum’s Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower, which has officially opened its 118-foot-tall, 10-story, 20,000-square-foot exhibit space that includes an outdoor terrace. observation on top overlooking the waterfront in May.

The United States Coast Guard, which has its only Wisconsin station in Sturgeon Bay, will again be demonstrating at the festival.

Those interested in maritime bargain hunting can visit the Boathouse Sale and Nautical Market, which offers gently used maritime gadgets, prints and items of all kinds.

A concession stand will be open throughout the festival, with fresh whitefish sandwiches joining the usual kids, burgers and drinks on the menu.

The Door County Maritime Museum's classic and wooden boat show boats are displayed not only on the museum grounds, but also in the canal that borders the grounds.  Here are some of those boats supported by the museum's new 10-story Jim Kress Maritime Light Tower at the 2021 show.

The show leads into Maritime Week, a traditional celebration of the Coast Guard in Sturgeon Bay and the town’s long maritime history. This includes the 2022 Sailor and Coastguard Person of the Year Awards Dinner on Tuesday evening at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club, 600 Nautical Driv.

The Mariner Award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to local maritime heritage. One of the awards is given to a living recipient and the other is given posthumously. The Coast Guard award is given to a local member who exemplifies its core values. Dinner tickets are $50 per person and reservations are required.

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Destination Sturgeon Bay joins the party with a maritime weekend that features food trucks and drinks at Sunset Park starting at 5 p.m. Saturday (when the boat show closes for the day) before a fireworks show ( offsetting fireworks postponed from July 4) at 8:30 p.m. Boaters registered for the show can take part in a water parade around the city’s inner harbor beginning at 6:30 p.m., and the public is welcome to watch.

Then, Maritime Weekend offers a Bloody Mary Social at 10 a.m. on Sundays at Sonny’s Pizzeria, across from the museum. Patrons can sample the drinks as area restaurants and taverns compete for the best Bloody Mary and garnish; they also get a slice of breakfast pizza and a Bridge Up Brewing beer chaser with admission, which is $35 for “professional tasters” and $20 for designated drivers.

The Classis and Wooden Boat Show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Door County Maritime Museum. DCMM also operates satellite museums at Gills Rock and Cana Island Lighthouse during the summer. Admission to the show is free.

For a complete schedule or more information, call 920-743-5958 or visit Where For tickets to the Bloody Mary Social or more on Maritime Weekend, call 920-743-6246 or visit

Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected]

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