By Kat Bein for Miami New Times
Break out your sunscreen and top-sider shoes. The Miami Boat Show is back and hoping to be bigger than ever during Presidents’ Day weekend.
Organizers estimate 100,000 visitors will descend upon the convention for its 75th year, bringing with them a healthy $83 million injection to the local economy — and one of the grandest displays of boats you’ve ever seen.
Sponsored by Progressive Insurance, the Boat Show is not just for boating enthusiasts and thesuperrich, although it helps to be filthy with greenbacks when you’re shopping for a yacht or speed boat accessories. The Boat Show encourages “dreamers” to witness the glory that is a collection of 12,000 boats, including special displays of the original Miami Vice boat and other beautiful machines. Guests can try their hand at kayaking or paddle-boating onsite, which are two activities it doesn’t take half a milli to continue at home. Plus, there will be opportunities for hands-on boat skill training and boat demonstrations for serious buyers.
During the media preview yesterday morning, Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado spoke about what a “historic move” this would be for the show having a new home by the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin on Virginia Key. He also said how the Miami Boat Show hopes to spur public interest in the revitalization of the landmark facility, left damaged and unused since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The stadium has come a long way, and the Boat Show works closely with the Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium restoration group, but it isn’t quite yet ready. It will act as a beautiful — but inaccessible — backdrop for the show’s 65,000-square-foot air-conditioned tent and 200,000 square-foot open-air displays.