Much has changed since the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society moved its annual show to Skaneateles 25 years ago—the docks are new; activities have been added. Remaining the same: the majestic boats, and their owners’ devotion to them.
This year’s show runs July 26-28 in Clift Park. Hours are 3 p.m. to dusk Friday, 9 a.m. to dusk Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
At least one boat from the first Skaneateles show will be back—Wood Too, a 22-foot reproduction of the Gar Wood Speedsters of the mid-thirties. When first exhibited, the boat was owned by Arnie Rubenstein; today, it is owned by his son Phillip of Fayetteville.
Among the 80 or so other boats on display will be mahogany runabouts from such legendary manufacturers as Chris-Craft, Hacker and Gar Wood, as well as launches, sailboats, canoes, rowing craft and race boats, many restored to their original condition. The Antique and Classic Boat Society embraces all styles of classic boats—wood, fiberglass and metal. Visitors can learn about the boats by reading the accompanying placards or talking with owners.
The show, which attracts exhibitors from throughout New York state, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina, Florida and Canada, draws about 10,000 visitors each year.
“Skaneateles is delighted to host this show, which has become an annual tradition for exhibitors and visitors alike,” says Hilary Fenner, executive director of the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce. “The boat parade, free concerts and children’s activities—set against the backdrop of the village’s fine boutiques, galleries and restaurants—offer something for everyone.”
Judging of the boats, in 35 categories, takes place Saturday morning. Throughout the weekend, visitors will cast their votes for the highly coveted People's Choice Award, sponsored by Doug’s Fish Fry, which will be presented at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Highlights of the weekend include:
- A boat parade and fly-by, led by the Stephanie, the Sherwood Inn’s 1946 Chris-Craft, starting at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.
- Performances by the Skaneateles Community Band, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday; the Diana Jacobs Band, noon to 3 p.m. Saturday; and the Soda Ash Six, noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.
- A performance by the Bubble Man, 11 a.m. Saturday.
- A display of antique model boats by the Syracuse Model Boat Club, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
- A youth judging competition, sponsored by Hagerty Classic Marine Insurance to “spark kids’ passion for wooden boats,” 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
- Opportunities for children to paint toy wooden boats, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
- Knot-tying demonstrations, 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
- Historical tours of the village presented by the Skaneateles Historical Society, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
- A photo-shoot and spectator cruise aboard the Judge Ben Wiles, 10 a.m. Sunday. The Judge will leave from the Mid-Lakes Navigation dock in Clift Park and make a slow tour of the north end of Skaneateles Lake, while exhibiting boats make random passes and provide opportunities for action shots. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children under 13 accompanied by an adult. For reservations, go to midlakesnav.com or call 315-685-8500. Walk-ons are welcome.
- Raffle drawings, 2 p.m. Sunday.
This year’s poster, based on a photo taken at last year’s show, was developed by Oswego illustrator David Owens, who has designed the show’s posters since 2017. Posters are $10 and are on sale at the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce, 22 Jordan St., and at the show.
Additionally, poster designs by graphic design students at Skaneateles High School will be on display.
In anticipation of the show, a 1936 Thompson row boat will be displayed throughout July at M&T Bank in downtown Skaneateles.
The event is organized by the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society and the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation (also known as the Skaneateles Foundation), and presented by M&T Bank.
Contributing sponsors are the Sherwood Inn, Beak & Skiff/1911, Brinson Marine, Doug’s Fish Fry, Mirbeau Inn & Spa, White Birch Vineyards Tasting Room, Holiday Inn Auburn, Inns of Aurora, Jacobs Press, Chase Design, White & White Antiques, Blue Water Grill, Cayuga Tree Service, Delmonico Insurance Agency, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Janice M. Miller, Architect, Johnny Angel’s Heavenly Burgers, The Medicine Shoppe Camillus, Mid-Lakes Navigation, Skaneateles Inn on 20, Tops Friendly Markets, Valentine’s Pizza & Deli, Wirth’s Automotive Services and Ace Hardware. Media sponsors are Group M Communications and WRVO Public Media.
The show is handicapped-accessible.
For more information, go to http://www.skaneateles.com or call the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce at 315-685-0552.