MANATEE -- Fans of new boats, bow and pole fishing, archery, salt water fly fishing, outdoor apparel and the great outdoors are anticipating a three-day event this weekend at the newly renovated Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto.
The Onshore Offshore Boat Show, which features 12 boat dealers and 50 exhibitors, runs Friday through Sunday at the former Manatee County Civic and Convention Center.
The first-time event is a throwback to Civic Center fishing shows of the past, which have not been held for at least the past five years, said organizer Jim Scilligo, a boating and outdoor enthusiast who owns a Tampa Bay marketing company.
"I've had so many people come up to me and say, 'Why don't we have the Manatee Civic Center boat show anymore?' that I decided to start it up again," Scilligo said.
Scilligo plans to bring the show
back Jan. 3-5 each year as well.
"Like those old Civic Center shows, is not just about boats," Scilligo said. "We will have exhibitors selling accessories for boating, also fishing gear and archery gear as well. and we will have two stages with speakers talking about fishing, boating and outdoor adventures."
Beginning four decades ago, the Civic Center shows were sponsored by the Bradenton Herald and directed by Outdoor Editor Jerry Hill. They were actually fishing colleges where people could learn the finer points of the sport, said the Herald's Jill McGarry.
The Herald decided to sponsor Scilligo's event because it still deals with education and benefits Suncoast Charities for Children, McGarry said.
"We took a sponsorship role because we feel it will be an excellent event for the community and we feel strongly about Suncoast Charities for Children," McGarry said.
A wide range of attractions await attendees, Scilligo said.
"People there can help you get a captain's license or you can talk to Freedom Boat Club about becoming a member," Scilligo said. "There will also be personal water craft on display."
A race boat from the 29th Annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix will be on display all weekend. The Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix runs June 29-July 7 in Sarasota.
Glen Grizzaffe of The Archery Shop will speak at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on "Bow Fishing and Gator Hunting with a Bow."
"Bow fishing is hot right now," Scilligo said.
Capt. Dave Pomerleau, known as "The Mad Snooker," will speak on "Advanced Snook Fishing," at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Scilligo thinks the sleeper attraction of the new show could be the indoor archery range where adults and children can test out the newest bows.
"There will be appropriate bows for kids," Scilligo said.
Admission is $5 for adults. Children age 12 and younger attend for free, Scilligo said.
Show hours are 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The complete speaker schedule can be found at onshoreoffshoreboatshow.com. Click the "schedule" tab on the home page.
The Bradenton Area Convention Center is located off U.S. 301 in Palmetto just across the river from downtown Bradenton.
Also, courtesy of the Herald, attendees can purchase two adult tickets for the price of one Friday, McGarry said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, Ext. 6686.