Wooden boat show motors into Spring Lake

Marie Havenga • Jun 2, 2016 at 2:00 PM

SPRING LAKE – The weather washed out last year's 12th annual Spring Lake Wooden Boat Show, so organizers are dubbing this year's event the “second 12th annual.”

More than 50 wooden and vintage vessels are expected to be on display and in the water at Mill Point Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Activities include a kids' boat building table, wooden boat-related vendors, music and food.

“The show attracts everything from project boats needing restoration to nationally-known, award-winning restorations,” event chairman Mark Miller said.

This year's spotlight will be on the Van Pelt hydroplane racers from the 1950s. They were built at the factory on School Street, adjacent to Mill Point Park, in the 1950s and 1960s.

“We invited past Van Pelt employees and racers to the show,” Miller said. “They practiced racing the hydroplanes right out on the river back in the day. We're going to have a couple of them on the water. They're going to buzz up and down the channel and do some demos to show what that was like.”

A Van Pelt hydroplane will also be available on land for photo opportunities.

“The kids can get in it and act like they're racing,” Miller said. “The Van Pelt thing will really be something to see and it's such a direct flashback to the 1950s.”

Besides Van Pelt, Spring Lake was known for boat building because of companies like Barrett's and Clinker, Miller said.

“Everyone likes boats,” he said. “I think because we've grown up in a water area. Wooden boats are beautiful to look at, they smell good and they're fun to be in. Kind of like the car world, the boat world has its own following. The boat world is just as enthusiastic.”

Miller said although fiberglass construction has overtaken wood craftsmanship, there will always be a place in the world for wooden boats.

“The wood boats are really beautiful,” he said. “They're stunning. If you saw a boat in the 1950s or 1960s, they didn't make them real glossy like they do now. They didn't have clear coat back then.”

Miller said he hopes for better weather this year. Last year, it rained steady all day and the show was cancelled.

“Last year was very frustrating,” he said. “We did 11 years without any real problems and then last year struck.”

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