COVENTRY TWP.  Classic and antique boat owners enjoyed a beautiful day at Portage Lakes on June 22 participating in the 44th annual North Coast Ohio Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society’s (ACBS) show.

It was a year of record attendance for the ACBS show as more than 50 boats filled the slips along the docks of the Harbor Front Grill and Picks PLX and on land. The boats each had their own uniqueness, history and stories. Owners of the classic watercraft were on hand to talk specifications, how they acquired the boats and what it took to refurbish them. They came from Ohio and surrounding states including Pennsylvania, New York and Kentucky.

Empty nesters and members of the club, Mike and Debbie Rutherford, said it is quite a commitment to uncover and cover their pontoon boat, so they went a little smaller. They have found the Solo Cup for 2 made by Chris Craft in 1993 is perfect for an evening ride around the lake or to cruise to dinner.

The Solo Cup is unique because Chris Craft only made 143 of the boats. Debbie said it is a lot of fun and it reminds her of a solo cup.

The boat show got its start billed as the Antique Boat Parade which was a prelude to the Fourth of July fireworks for the lakes area. The event became so popular and parade viewers wanted to get an up-close view of the antique boats, so it was decided to host a show. Originally, the show was organized by the Portage Lakes Historical Society. More boats began coming to the show from around the region. As it grew, the historical society asked ACBS to co-sponsor the show.

It takes many volunteer hours from the club members to make the event a success and organize all the facets of planning. Behind the scenes the members, managed by chairman Gil Maringer, organize sponsors, recruite owners to bring their boats to show and many other aspects of the event from T-shirts to brunch.

The theme for this year’s show was “Year of the Outboards.” The Western Reserve Chapter of the Antique Outboard Motor Club brought motors from a variety of eras to add to the displays.

Six youth judges spent time judging and awarding trophies to a variety of their chosen winners.

The People’s Choice first place, boat was 1969 Monarck 20 foot the “Sweet Pea.” First Mate Sharon Tompkins of Sweet Pea, a former Coast Guard boat from Lake Erie, said the Sweet Pea was made in 1969 for the Coast Guard. The boat was used on the Huron River to tow and rescue. It was then used as the Summit County Sheriff’s boat on Portage Lakes. Tompkins said they named it the Sweet Pea because it looks like Popeye’s boat.

The chapter of ACBS known as the North Coast Ohio Chapter was formed in 1995 by four wooden boat owners. Through the years, the group has held a variety of events that included many boat shows, workshops, rendezvous, cruises, social gatherings and monthly board meetings. The chapter’s more than 130 members are very active in restoring and showing classic boats. Most of them use their special boats to enjoy the waters of Ohio.

After the show, boat owners cruised in their vintage boats to the awards banquet at the Turkeyfoot Island Club. Club member Walt Stashkiw said the plans for next year’s show are already under way.