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Regional shows play musical chairs

The New England Boat Show and Providence Boat Show both announce date changes for 2008

The New England Boat Show and Providence Boat Show both announce date changes for 2008

New Englanders in the market for a new boat next year will find a slightly different schedule for the region’s annual boat shows.

Late last fall the people who put on the New England Boat Show announced the 2008 show would take place Jan. 12 to 20 — the same weekend of the Providence Boat Show in Rhode Island. The show is typically held in mid-February but had to change, due to a scheduling conflict with the venue, the BostonConvention & ExhibitionCenter, according to organizers.

“A majority of exhibitors do both the Providence Boat Show and the New England Boat Show, so it would not be advantageous for our shows to go head-to-head,” explains Nancy Piffard, Providence Boat Show director. The 2008 show in Providence has been rescheduled for Jan. 3-6. The show is held annually at the Rhode IslandConvention Center and the adjoining Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

“It became apparent that we needed to look for an alternative,” she says. “Working with the Rhode IslandConvention Center management team, we checked out all possible weekends starting in January up to the first week in April.”

Although the new schedule for the Providence show does not conflict with the New England Boat Show, it does conflict with the New York National Boat Show, held annually the first week in January. “Having to move our dates is unfortunate, since some of our exhibitors do the New York show also,” says Piffard. “The Providence Boat Show tends to attract people from the New England states, so attendance should not be affected.”

“I feel for them, having their show around the holidays like ours. It’s a tough time to have a show,” says Michael Duffy, manager of the New York National Boat Show. “But, given the distance from Rhode Island to New York, and considering our regular attendance, I don’t see a big conflict.”

Last summer, former longtime Providence Boat Show owner George Hawkins sold the show to the Newport Harbor Corporation, which is responsible for putting on the Newport International and Newport Spring boat shows. Between 22,000 and 24,000 people turned out for the 2007 Providence show, held Jan. 11 to 14, Piffard says. Dates for the 2009 show have not been determined.

“We would have preferred to keep our traditional dates, but we are committed to producing a successful boat show and will work to make that happen,” says Piffard. ;