What’s new at the Progressive Cleveland Boat Show 2019? Kelleys Island Day, Twiggy the Water Ski Squirrel and more

David Petkiewicz

Progressive Cleveland Boat Show 2019 promises to be biggest in years

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Another four months until summer in northeast Ohio.

But you can pretend January 17-21 at the Progressive Cleveland Boat Show, an annual tradition that adopts fun new tricks for 2019.

There is a theme every day this year, including Kelleys Island Sunday Funday. There are more vendors than ever before, including stores in Marblehead and Kelleys Island, and local artisans in the Lake Erie Market. There’s even Twiggy, the famous water-ski squirrel.

Of course, there are also boats – 450 of them, from kayaks to 45-foot floating condos. This year, many dealerships have larger layouts, said Michelle Burke, executive director of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, which runs the show.

Perennial favorites are also back.

You can get fishing tips while watching perch and smallmouth bass swim in a 5,000 gallon tank. You can sit on a WaveRunner, snorkel for free, and pilot a sailboat simulator that looks like an upside-down tub. And you can listen to the music of the islands.

Take a look at what to expect at the show this year.


Twiggy, the water ski squirrel

A favorite with boat show fans for almost 40 years, Twiggy the waterskiing squirrel is back – this time with a lifeguard dog.

The adorable aquatic rodent (a role played by a succession of animals over the years) has appeared in the movies “Anchorman” and “Dodgeball”, as well as in the music video for Brad Paisley’s song, “River Bank”.

Laura Johnston, cleveland.com

Main street of Kelleys Island

The show for the first time will recreate the relaxation of Kelleys Island. The Kelleys Main Street section will feature the famous Brandy Alexander from Village Pump, small beers from Dockers Waterfront Bar and Peeper lemonade.

Local merchants including Chicklet’s Closet, Missy Magoo’s, Second Home and Garden and the Village Peddler will be on site.

David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com

Lake school

The boat show features all kinds of speakers, from learning to kayak to teaching safety techniques, on the University of Lake Erie stage and on the main stage.

The Lake Erie Foundation will feature former Ohio State Stone Lab chief Jeffrey Reutter on the challenges and solutions of Lake Erie. Other presentations include Fishing Outlook 2019, the Lake Erie Bill of Rights and Living the Life of Lake Erie.

Laura Johnston, cleveland.com

Lake Erie Market

The 2019 show will feature Lake Erie’s very first marketplace, with vendors selling all kinds of nautical equipment.

Merchants and galleries in the village of Marblehead will also be at the IX Center for your shopping pleasure.

Laura Johnston, cleveland.com

Sailing center

The show this year has a whole section devoted to sailing, with sailing schools, clubs, a solo sailing club, at least eight small sailboats and two sailing simulators. Riverfront Yacht Sales will exhibit a 34 Jeanneau.

David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com


Vendors offer all kinds of gifts.

To only cite a few :

Buckeye Sports offers water skis. Just Add Water offers an open water diving course and pool training. Desdemona Art Gallery is offering a $ 100 gift card. Charles Mill Marina offers a four hour boat rental, plus a gift card. And Lyman Life is offering a gift basket valued at $ 250.

Theme days

Each of the five days of the show has a theme.

Thursday: Island Day, see the best of Put-in-Bay (including the boardwalk lobster bisque)

Friday: Friday Frolic, with special nights, live music and beer from Lyman Boat Beer Works, a one-of-a-kind Siblings Day Infusion

Saturday: Mid-winter meeting

Sunday: Kelleys Island Funday

Monday: Children’s Day, with balloons, face painting and live characters

Your favorites too

In addition to the novelties, many traditions of boat shows will return this year.

This includes Island performers from Lake Erie, historic boats, and the Go Dive Now Pool, where guests 10 and older can try diving for free.

Tickets cost $ 14 for adults, $ 12 for seniors, and free for children 12 and under.


Thursday January 17: 12 pm-9pm

Friday January 18: 12 pm-9pm

Saturday January 19: 10 am-9pm

Sunday January 20: 10 am-6pm

Monday January 21 10 am-5pm


Laura Johnston, cleveland.com

Looking back on last year

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