See fascinating boats at the annual wood boat rendezvous

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One of the most popular events on the Whitefish Chain is almost here- the Whitefish Antique and Classic Wood Boat Rendezvous. On this Saturday, June 15, a huge variety of spectacular wood boats will descend on Moonlite Bay in Crosslake.

The show begins at Moonlite Bay at 9 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m. with a boat parade around the chain. Even if you don't go to Moonlite Bay for the show, keep an eye out in the afternoon for the parade. It is quite a sight. The show is free to attend and well worth the trip. Even those with no interest in boats or antiques will find an easy appreciation for the vessels.

The boats that line the docks at Moonlite Bay for the Rendezvous range from small, ancient duck boats to huge, refinished antique boats with cabins, to boats that hold jet engines and are made for speed. More than 50 boats will be at the show, some with values approaching $1 million. Many of the wood boats are buffed to such a shine that they cast a perfect reflection of the onlooker.

While probably none of the boats could be called “simple,” the variety of complexities, types of boats and their functions are fascinating. Where one boat will remind admirers of their grandfather’s duck boat, another will evoke images similar to that of the Great Gatsby and the roaring ‘20s (one boat that is often at the show even bears the name "Gatsby").

Many of the boats and their owners show an attention to fine detail that is extraordinary. On the day of the show, trained dock volunteers are stationed at area boat launches to aid in the careful launching and landing of the boats.

The show started in 1988, and has been going for more than 25 years. Many attendees are at the show every year to display their boats, coming from across the state and, in some cases, across the nation. One of the annually visiting boats that is popular among locals is the mail boat. At one time, mail was delivered to Whitefish Chain residents by boat, to mailboxes placed on the end of docks. The mail boat was generously refinished and spends most of its time on display at the Crosslake Historic Log Village. Every year, though, the boat again takes to the water for the show at Moonlite Bay.

In addition to boats in the water, there are model boat displays to check out on land.

Every year skippers vote for the best of the boats, including best utility, runabout, outboard, fiberglass, best launch, best display on land, best display on the water, and the two most coveted awards: skipper’s choice and people’s choice. Anyone who visits the show can vote in the people’s choice award. Every year in the afternoon, toward the end of the show, the boats pull out from their slips and parade around the bay and through the chain. 

Moonlite Bay, of course, will be serving up their usual delicious food and beverages throughout the day. For more information on the show, visit www.whitefishchainboatshow.com.

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