There might not be a bigger or better celebration of the houseboating lifestyle than the National Houseboat Expo, which has become an annual tradition and the unofficial kickoff to summer for a lot of houseboaters.
At times it almost feels like an industry family reunion, with houseboaters, manufacturers and vendors converging on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky at the State Dock Marina for a fun-filled three-day weekend. With a luau-themed event and attendees dressed to impress with full Hawaiian ensembles, the docks were bursting with fun as we celebrated houseboating once again.
A custom-built 21- by 100-foot Thoroughbred helped anchor the show along with another new boat—a custom Sumerset that was directly across at the start of the dock where other boats were on display. Cruisers, runabouts, pontoons and PWCs were also in the mix as well as a good variety of renovated houseboats for sale through the brokers.
Vendors representing a wide variety of products and services could be found both on the docks as well as in the State Dock pavilion area.
Attendees were encouraged to dress up, but it seems like those having the most fun came from Houseboat Row, a fleet of rental houseboats set aside for attendees so they could stay close to the action. The fun carried over to “Luau on the Lake” on Saturday night with free food and beverages, thanks to sponsors LD-Auto Marine Fleet and Floatinator, as well as brothers Shane and Marty Richards and Two Brothers Grillin’, who did all the cooking. The line for food was long at times, but there was plenty of food and drink for everyone.
Following the luau cookout, Houseboat magazine judges made their way around to the rental houseboats that attendees had decorated. This was easily one of the best years as far as participation and just overall appearance, and picking a winning houseboat was nearly impossible as some of the luau decorations were truly over the top.
Playing For A Crest
The annual on-deck poker run is always a big draw as attendees hope for a little luck as they play for a chance to win a new pontoon. This year the grand prize was a Crest II 230 SLR2 pontoon with a Suzuki 140hp four-stroke outboard and EZ Loader trailer. Lake Cumberland Marine, a Crest dealer in the Cumberland area, helped prep the pontoon and get it ready for the show. Gregory Stanfield from Alabama had more than luck on his side after having two of the top five poker hands from the weekend, which led to him winning the Crest at the final table. Thanks to Airhead, Sportsstuff and WavePads, the top five hands all went home with some great prizes.
For those of you who love searching for our hidden anchor within the pages of our magazine each time, imagine how the attendees felt when we extended the contest to our show. We hid a wooden anchor on one of the houseboats on display and the winners who spotted it walked away with a special anchor tote bag from Cappelli Straworld, Inc., a division of Dorfman Pacific. If you needed a cool drink while searching for the hidden anchor, Top-Knot supplied free water to the attendees.
Good food, good company and good friends are important ingredients to a successful houseboat show, but of course you need great music for it to be a party and Billy Brown and his band didn’t disappoint. On Friday and Saturday night, music filled the air, which was a great way to end each day.
We had so much fun we’re going to do it all again with a goal to have the 2018 Houseboat Expo different and better than ever before! Follow us on Facebook for updates on why the next show will be a must-attend show!
Printed In Aug 2016