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Show celebrates ‘all things Maine’

John Hanson, the 54-year-old founder of Maine Boats & Harbors magazine, is gearing up for the third annual Maine Boats & Harbors Show — a collection of boats, crafts and the people behind them — which Hanson considers “all things Maine.” The event attracts thousands of spectators each year.

“It’s a terrific time,” Hanson says. “Even a small state like Maine has a wealth of talented artists and craftspeople and boatbuilders. We get them all here, for one big show.”

Nearly 300 exhibitors have signed up for this year’s installment of the three-day show, scheduled for Aug. 12 to 14 in Rockland, Maine. Of those, Hanson expects 80 boats to be displayed in-water and another 45 on the hard. Other exhibitors will include New England boatbuilders, furniture makers, artists and entertainers.

“I have a lot of interests besides boats, and figure other people do too,” Hanson explains. “The show is like a live version of the magazine, capturing all aspects of life on Maine’s beautiful coast. Coming to the show is like walking the pages of the magazine.

“People who come here get to talk to the state’s most talented creators,” Hanson adds. “You’re not talking to salespeople here. I think it’s an amazing thing to be face-to-face with the people that make it happen.”

Some of the boat exhibitors on hand will be the Atlantic Boat Company of Brooklin, the Hinckley Company of Southwest Harbor and Hunt Yachts of Dartmouth, Mass. Other exhibitors will include Green Design Furniture of Portland, artist Dana Moses of Damariscotta, and (Alison) Langley Photography of Rockport.

One of the show’s biggest attractions is the Championship Boatyard Dog Trials, an event that has grown from the magazine’s “Boatyard Dog” feature. Well-behaved dogs that either work in boatyards, crew on boats or somehow direct waterfront operations are eligible to compete. Dogs and their handlers will maneuver through a timed obstacle course that, in past years, has included obstacles like negotiating a tippy dock, jumping in and out of dinghies and fetching objects from the water.

“It’s the best,” Hanson says of the trials. “It sets the tone for the rest of the show. We want people to not take things too serious, to relax and just have fun.”

A new addition to this year’s festival will be what Hanson calls the “world’s first” short-course model lobster boat race.

“We’re going to have these 3-foot electric, radio-controlled model lobster boats in a 32-foot-by-16-foot model pond,” he explains. “I think the competition is going to be a lot of fun.”

But, for Hanson, the most enjoyable part of the show is seeing everyone having a good time.

“I can’t wait,” he says. “Seeing everyone with smiles on their faces makes me happy. That’s the reward.”