It’s Showtime in Newport Harbor This Month

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The Exy Johnson and the Irving Johnson, the LA Marine Institute’s twin 90-foot brigantines that will sail a match race at the Wooden Boat Festival.


There are two boat shows closing in very fast on my radar for tomorrow and next week.  Boat shows are a huge boost for our local economy and especially for our local businesses, including marine businesses, hotels, restaurants, and shops.  Businesses will see an influx of both exhibitors participating in the show and people visiting the show.

Additionally, I have stated many times in my columns that boating generates huge dollars for the local economy.  Recreational boating contributes billions of dollars to the nation’s economy, and the boating industry is starting to recover in these difficult economic times.

This is a good time for a buyer to purchase a boat, as prices are good and there are vacancies in the marinas so you can slide your newly purchased boat into its new home slip.  Newport Harbor is home to many magnificent yachts; however, the majority of boaters are cruising in vessels 28 feet or less while enjoying the harbor or ocean with their families and friends.

The first boat show is Saturday, Sept. 17 – that is correct, tomorrow – so come on down to the 2nd Annual Wooden Boat Festival 2011 hosted by the American Legion Yacht Club.  This is a great show where you will see classic boats both in the water and on land.  Last year’s event had an excellent display of watercraft and the show was more popular than expected, says Tom Melum, event organizer with the American Legion.

Again this year, we will be broadcasting the Boathouse Radio Show live from noon to 1 p.m. (Pacific time) at the festival.  Just another reason why you should attend the festival, and did I mention that the Legion’s BBQs will be fired up for lunch?

New for this year is the Soap Box Sabots program, a community education program from Cerritos College.  The Sabots will be on display and participation is open to everyone.

The brigantine Irving Johnson is docked at Lido Marina Village for public tour, and a shuttle boat will be cruising between the brigantine and the American Legion Club.  So, you can park at Lido Marina and catch the shuttle to the festival.

The festival will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tickets are $10, with those younger than 8 scooting in for free.  The American Legion is located on the bayfront at the end of 15th Street on the Balboa Peninsula and you can find out more at

Then, next week, the big boat show of West Coast comes to Lido Marina Village with the temporary docks extending from the village into the small turning basin.  The 33rd Annual Lido Yacht Expo is a show for the serious big-boat buyer, with a big selection of boats on display – more than 200, outfitted with luxuries that would rival a five-star hotel.

You will be able to view breathtaking luxury motoryachts that are up to 100 feet in length, and a wide selection of 35- to 65-foot boats, including sportfishers, long-range trawler yachts, sport yachts, family cruisers and motoryachts, offering many dazzling options for show-goers to consider.  Let’s not forget the exhibitor booths that are set-up along the Village’s boardwalk, where you will be able to find services and accessories.  The boardwalk area is open to the public; a ticket is required to go down to the docks.  So, you can plan on having lunch in the Village before or after walking the docks to kick the tires of the yachts.

Additionally, the Yacht Expo boasts more than 400,000 square feet of floating dock exhibits and boardwalk displays.  The Expo opens Thursday (Sept. 22) and runs through Sunday (Sept. 26) closing 7 p.m. nightly and 6 p.m. on Sunday.  Admission is $12 for adults and free for children 12 and younger.  You can go to for more information.

Tip of the week is for you to use the free parking and shuttle to get to the Lido Yacht Expo.  You can avoid the congestion and stress of parking at the show by catching the boat show shuttle that leaves every 15 minutes.  Thursday and Friday you can park at the Newport Harbor Lutheran Church at 798 Dover Drive, and on Saturday and Sunday free parking is available at the Hoag Health Center on Superior Ave.  The best part is that the parking and shuttle are free.

And don’t forget: Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, Capt. Mike Whitehead’s Boathouse Radio Show, broadcasting coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network every Saturday at noon, Pacific Time and replayed on Sunday at 10 am Pacific.  Join Chandler Bell, Craig Carpenter, and me as we talk about “all things boating.”  You can find the station listings, cable TV channels, live streaming on the Internet, and now available are apps to listen to the show for your iPhone, Blackberry, iTouch, Android, Palm, and Windows Mobile at or

Until next week, Safe Voyages!

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