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Thread: Will there ever be another National Houseboat Expo?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Zilpo55's Avatar
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    Will there ever be another National Houseboat Expo?

    The great recession killed the National Houseboat Expo in Louisville several years ago and the common opinion is that it will never be back. After that, it turned into "on water" houseboat show at State Dock on Lake Cumberland. We went a couple times, but didn't enjoy it much. There were a few advantages to holding it at a marina, but many disadvantages too. This site says the expo has been cancelled until 2019. I wonder what, if anything, is planned for next year. And where would it be held?
    http://www.houseboatmagazine.com/expo

    The recession drove several major manufacturers out of business, but the 2018 Buyers Guide made me realize there are several new players not to mention that Gibson is back. The older companies that are still in business have streamlined their operations and seem to be doing very well. We'll just have to wait and see, I guess.

  2. #2
    Senior Member easttnboater's Avatar
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    I don't really see it happening anytime soon. It is expensive to build and transport a show boat.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Zilpo55's Avatar
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    It makes me wonder how it was ever worthwhile in the first place. I guess now there isn't as much competition for people wanting to build a brand new boat.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Miller Tyme's Avatar
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    Went to the shows in the Ville every year, and the year they had several 100' (2007 Or 2008) there one of the mfgs told me if they sell just one of them they covered there nut for the show.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Zilpo55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miller Tyme View Post
    Went to the shows in the Ville every year, and the year they had several 100' (2007 Or 2008) there one of the mfgs told me if they sell just one of them they covered there nut for the show.
    We went almost every year, also. The tradition was to blow the horn when a boat sold and the whole place would cheer. I recall hearing the horn blow at least once (usually more) every time we went.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    We flew into LOU a couple of times to attend the boat show, had a fine time seeing what vendors thought we needed. So then, of course, buoyed by good memories, we tried to go to the on-the-water show. It was right on our way home to NC from STL, and our grandsons were excited. We landed our little plane at the nearly-deserted Madison? county airport just up the road from the boat show dock, and were able to find absolutely no way to travel the three miles or so from the airport to the lake. No taxi, no Uber, no rental car, no public transportation, no shuttle service, no friendly local pilot headed that way, no courtesy car. (Most little airports in the back of beyond have a run-out cop car, a battered pickup truck, a brand-new Hummer (!) or other way to run into town for lunch. It's customary to put some gas in as thanks. I've even had airport managers toss me the keys to their own car for an hour. Not there!) There was no courtesy at all, in fact, at that strangely grumpy little place. Not so much as a smiling "Good morning" reply from the Jabba-esque sourpuss presiding over that shabby desk.) After a fruitless search for a ride, we took the hint, and departed to go buy our 75 gallons of avgas and lunch for four elsewhere. We were delighted to find an airport a little ways east, teeming with brightly colored tiny homebuilt airplanes and happy pilots. Excellent place, as it turned out, for a hundred-dollar hamburger.
    Last edited by Amelia; 02-22-2018 at 06:29 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Zilpo55's Avatar
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    I had to jump on Google Maps to figure out what airport you were talking about, Amelia. I'm fairly sure it was Russell Co. Airport (K24), which would have been very convenient for the boat show IF they would have had some ground transportation. That's yet another missed opportunity to get a few more people to the show. I suspect they would have lured a few other pilots besides yourself if they had listed an airfield that close and a cell number to call a shuttle driver.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Right, Zilpo?!? Yeah, it was Russell County, come to think of it. I even called the magazine office beforehand to ask about ground transport. Ha. Big shrug. Pre-departure phone call to the airport office was unanswered. My first clue, eh? We really, really wanted to see the houseboats, see what gotta-have technology was on offer, so we took a chance, circled a very quiet lake, and landed. Once at the ghost town airport, finding no local transportation of any description, I called the dockmaster's office as a last resort, to see if anybody was coming to town anyway, who might swing by and pick us up for that very short ride, in exchange for a suitable gratuity. Ha, again. Apparently, we had nothing to offer the houseboat folk worthy of the minimal support. Learned my lesson, I did. The next midday stop turned out well, anyway. The grandsons forgot their profound disappointment, and Grandmama got over her snit, when we found the regional Van's AirForce RVs, beautiful home-built airplanes, had chosen the same airport cafe we had, and the craftsmanship and paint jobs on display were eye-popping. Lunch was good, service in that busy place was good, fuel was reasonable, and the locals were so very friendly. We went on our speedy way home then, in a much better mood than we arrived.

    As for shabby little Russell County Airport, it amazed me to find such a poor welcome at a facility that theoretically caters to rather well-heeled people who might spend their dollars in town, buy their fuel from the county, even consider locating their businesses in the area. Glowering Ms. Jabba couldn't even muster a cordial hello, for some reason. My tiny rural town has attracted more than one much-needed business to the area by treating our visitors like honored guests. This pretty village is noted for its hospitality, even to itinerant little-airplane-drivers. And our airport's run-out (free) crew car even has seats that still adjust and windows that work. For business people with higher standards, Enterprise will, with prior notice, have a car waiting on the ramp. The good ol' boys will pump the self-serve gas, share a story or two, offer a cold bottle of water or legendarily bad airport coffee, and recommend good restaurants down the road. It is not too much to ask, IMO.

    BTW, if the magazine ever wanted to try again, I guarantee we would surely do better here in Edenton, jewel of North Carolina's scenic "Inner Banks". Our town dock overlooking Edenton Bay and the Albemarle Sound, our airport folk, our taxi and shuttle drivers, our merchants, our fine restaurants, our historical landmark docents, our luxury B&Bs, would show them how gracious Southern Hospitality works.

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