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FORT MYERS | Vendors hope attendance for boat show doesn't sink

Fort Myers Boat Show
Posted at 6:34 PM, Nov 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-10 18:52:28-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Food, booze, and of course boats filling Centennial Park for the 51st annual boat show.

"The boats are actually prettier than what they were last time," said Elaine Bardis.

Bardis and her crew set up shop for the boat show with their food truck Lets Bee Frank.

“This is a 100 year old recipe my grandfather started," said a crew member.

Lets Bee Frank Food Truck Chili Dog

He couldn't share the recipe for his grandfather's chili dog, but he did tell Fox 4'sBriana Brownlee Lets Bee Frank was at the last boat show—which was different because of Ian.

“When we were here in January it was amazing," Bardis said.

Because of Ian, the show was delayed from November to January. Not only that, the boats couldn't be in the water and had to be on land.

Fort Myers Boat Show

However vendors said the boat show didn't skip a beat because of Ian—in fact they said it was one of the best shows. But when some vendors are looking at the numbers of attendance so far, they are seeing a decline for this year's show.

“It’s okay, it’s not horrendous, it’s not what we thought," Bardis said. "I would say probably more than 50 percent of people were here in January.”

“I don’t know, people may have had money from insurance claims, needed to get out of the house after going through all of the aggravation of repairs," said David Adams, an apparel vendor.

Adams said he does about 15 to 20 shows a year and said the last boat show was a record for him. Many vendors also noticed that Ian may have sparked a demand for boats. However they are holding on to hope the crowd will comeback.

“We’re going to be rocking and rolling like crazy," Adams said. "I think the lines out of my booth are going to be tremendous.”