Fun in the sun: Boat the Blue Antique & Classic Boat Show draws thousands to the Blue Water Area

Thousands of people gathered in Port Huron this past weekend to attend this year's Boat the Blue Antique & Classic Boat Show.

After being postponed in 2020, the two-day event was held on Friday, Sept. 10, and Saturday, Sept. 11 at River Street Marina. Audrey Torello, Executive Director of Michigan Mutual Mortgage which sponsored the event, says the show drew about 7,000 people and was supported by more than 90 volunteers.

Volunteers provide free boat rides along the Black River during the Antique & Classic Boat Show in Port Huron.
“We've always taken a very active role in this event,” says Torello. “It's family-friendly and it brings people together which aligns our company’s core values — family and fun — and we enjoy bringing this event to the community.”

Over 70 antique and classic boats were on display at the marina and visitors could also enjoy other entertainment options along the boardwalk such as live music, merchants, food trucks, and face painting. 

In addition to perusing the classic and antique boats, event goers could also enjoy other activities such as shopping the waterfront marketplace, face painting, food vendors, and free boat rides along the Black River.The free boat rides along the harbor were a popular attraction and Trello says 16 boats provided a total of 450 trips during the event. 

“We have a great community that rallies around an event like this and we just have a lot to offer in downtown Port Huron,” says Torello. “We also wanted to bring people from other areas to our community so that they can see what we’re all about, and hopefully encourage them to come back and continue to visit.”

One of the new features this year was a downtown window art contest where Port Huron retailers got involved and showcased their Blue Water Area love on their storefronts. 

“We have an art contest with young children and teenagers that we've taken a lot of pride in and this year we implemented the window art contest,” says Torello. “We were pleasantly surprised with our downtown Port Huron retailers — we had 16 that participated. We are really proud of that and hope to continue to grow the art contest portion of Boat the Blue.”

Dustin Walker provides free boat rides on his father's 27-foot, 1951 Chris Craft Sea Skiff during the Boat the Blue Antique & Classic Boat Show on Saturday, Sept. 11.
The next show will be held in 2023 at which time Torello says they will begin planning the international show scheduled for 2025. Stay up to date with announcements by visiting boattheblue.org or follow along at facebook.com/phboattheblue.
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