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Bay State boat show hints of autumn

From a ladies’ night, to an antique boat contest, to a boatbuilding demonstration, the people who are putting on the ninth annual Boston International In-Water Boat Show are hopeful that a number of new events will help attract nearly 20,000 people from all over the region to the show this fall.

“We’ve invested a quite a bit of money to spice things up,” says Warren Kelly, owner of Vernon Promotions, which produces the show. “We want to take the boat show and create things inside that people will like to see.”

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, the show is scheduled for Sept. 27-30 at the WorldTradeCenter on BostonHarbor.

One way Kelly is hoping to attract potential boatbuyers is by waiving the admittance fee for women on opening night, Sept. 27. Another is by hosting an antique boat contest at the show.

“We’re inviting people who have restored antique and classic boats,” says Kelly. “We’ll have a number of specific categories we’ll be judging.”

A professional boatbuilder, who will build a small wooden boat over the course of the show, will be on hand, Kelly says. There will be a number of free seminars as well, with topics ranging from how to get a captain’s license, to chart reading to using a GPS.

While he’s been busy scheduling the new events, Kelly hasn’t forgotten to pack the show with new boats and equipment. “This is the place to find great deals on 2007 models, and to see all the new 2008 models,” he says.

On display will be between 350 and 400 boats in the water, and about 200 inside, says Kelly. The boats will range from inflatables and dinghies to a 65-foot Viking. More than 300 exhibitors will be in attendance.

“This is the show that will carry the excitement of boating into the fall and winter for all New Englanders,” Kelly says.