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New England Boat Show finds a new home

OCT. 20 --The 50-year-old New England Boat Show has contracted to move into the BostonConvention & ExhibitionCenter in February.

The show, run by North American Expositions, is scheduled for Feb. 17 to 24.

The state authority that oversees the $800 million-plus BCEC was expected to announce the deal Thursday, The Boston Herald reported.

Many more consumer shows might take place at the BCEC in the future, with state lawmakers recently lifting a ban on such shows.

The boat show has been held at the BaysideExpositionCenter since 1983.

The Massachusetts Marine Trades Association had launched an aggressive lobbying campaign, urging state senators to pave the way for boat shows to be held at the BCEC. The BaysideExpoConvention Center had not renewed the show’s lease, according to organizers. If another venue had not been found, the show would have been forced to close.

A 1997 state law prohibited gate shows at the BCEC. Gate shows charge admission to the public, as opposed to trade shows, which are open only to those registered for the show.

MMTA, the show’s principal sponsor, says the loss of a winter boat show would have devastated the state’s marine industry. The association traces about half of its members’ total annual sales to the New England Boat Show.