Kids, both young and old, flung scrambled eggs to flying birds during the annual Purple Martinfest at the launch ramp of North Reservoir on State Mill Road and less than a mile away classic and antique wooden boats oohed and aahed the crowds at On Tap at the Harbor.

With Portage Lakes as the Purple Martin capital of Ohio, the festival is held annually and fortunately coincides with the July Fourth festivities. Thousand of Purple Martins flock to the lakes to nest and raise their young.

Each bird eats thousands of mosquitoes and other bugs daily, reducing the need for using chemicals to keep them at bay. Large crowds stop to feed the birds and this year was no exception. Kids enjoyed it and adults re-lived their childhood.

Publicity Chairman Walt Stashkiw said the Portage Lakes Antique and Classic Boat show "drew a record crowd to one of the best attended shows in many years. Unique to this year’s show was a contingent of 'youth judges’ made up of area grandchildren of some of the participants and a local Boy Scouts of America Troop 215. These young judges were managed by club member Ray McFarland and enjoyed learning the intricacies of how to judge boats using the ACBS Judging Guidelines."

The youth program is sponsored by the ACBS and the Hagerty Insurance Company.

Winners of the Antique Boat Show

Sailboats: Akron’s Jerry and Liliana Welch’s 1957 15-foot Sailing Canoe.

Non-Powered Craft: 2016 7-foot Homebuilt Kayak, ‘"My Adventure," owned by Trent and Rob Riedel of Chippewa Lake. 

Wooden Outboards: First place: Ted and Rebecca Hall of North Canton for their 1958 16-foot Pen Yan, Dynamold. Second: Marty Belfi of Columbia Station for a 1958 16-foot Lyman Runabout. Third: Dan and Ruth Wiley of Burbank for their 1956 13-foot Chris Craft Barracuda Kit Boat, "Buttons."

Non-Wooden Outboard: First place: Dan and Ashley Ritchey of Bolivar for a 1966 14-foot StarCraft, Falcon. Second: Andrew Johnson of Copley for his 1960 13-foot Glasspar, G-3. Third: a tie between Donald and Winnie Trotter of Canfield for their 1968 14-foot Checkmate and David Ross of Akron for his 1959 15’ Thompson, Royal Craft, "Three Times a Lady."

Late Classics: Dave and Annette Rosenberger, North Canton, for their 1989 15-foot Boston Whaler, "Mischief."

Fiberclassics: Bill and Donna Wise, Cuyahoga Falls, for a 1978 19-foot Chris Craft, Lancer, "Wise Choice."

Classic Runabouts: Pete and Judi Crusse, Worthington, for their 1947 17-foot Chris Craft Deluxe Runabout, "Spirit."

Classic Utility: First place: Aaron and Ben LaDonne, Pittsburgh, for a 1959 19-foot Chris Craft, "Silver Arrow." Second: David and Lynn Dickens, Hudson, for their 1952 23-foot Chris Craft, Holiday, "Simpler Times." Third: Byron Kruger of Portage Lakes for his 1964 19-foot Chris Craft, Golden Arrow, "Miss Adventure."

Best Non-Wooden Boat (Antique and Classic Boat Society Award): Tom and Karri Wood of Willard for their 1968 23-foot Chris Craft, Corsair, "Karri Me Back."

Most Original Boat, (Antique and Classic Boat Society Award) - Murray and Sarah Hestley of Dundee, NY for their 1948 17’ Chris Craft, Deluxe Runabout, ‘Diotima.’

Most Unique Craft - Mike and Debbie Rutherford of Akron for their 1993 16’ Chris Craft, ‘Caper.’

Peoples’ Choice Awards - First Place: John and Kim Vorhies, Clinton, for their 1939 22’ classic Chris Craft, Custom Runabout, ‘Sashay.’ Second: Byron Kruger who also won third place in the Classic Utility category for ‘Miss Adventure’ and third: Kenneth and Sharon Tompkins of Akron for their 1969 20’ Monarch, ‘Sweat Pea.’

The Ned Mohrman Memorial Award for the ‘Outstanding Portage Lakes Boater’ was won by Bob Susick of Akron.


The Portage Lakes Antique and Classic Boat show is a part of the 4th of July festivities held in the area which includes the Purple Martinfest, fireworks, boat parade and sandcastle building at the local state park.

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