The 2022 Maine Boatbuilders Show has been canceled. The disappointing news came as a surprise to many from all over the northeast who made the annual boat show a part of their summer routine in Maine. It was scheduled to take place next month, July 15, 16, and 17, 2022 on West Commercial Street, Portland – that is until Joanna Sprague, Director of the Maine Boatbuilders Show, decided late last week that she could not produce the kind of show she had for the past thirty-three years.
Last summer, after a pandemic pause and a complicated move from the east end to the west end of Portland, the boat show made a triumphant return to its rightful place on the waterfront. One hundred vendors appeared at the show. Boats from manufacturers all over the northeast were back in the water at 100 West Commercial Street. It seemed like a return to normal. But it wasn’t.
“The world has changed a lot since we first held the boatbuilders show at 58 Fore Street,” said Joanna in a telephone conversation today. “When we first held the boatbuilders show there was no internet. People are now buying boats on the internet,” she said. She cited the rising costs of attending such a show. Hotel costs have risen, gas prices have risen. Marketing is now done on-line. Only fifty (50) vendors had signed on to appear at this year’s show. A perfect storm of factors appears to have hit the Portland waterfront and taken a popular tradition with it.
“We need to pivot a little and rethink it,” said Joanna. “Phin and I need time to regroup and reimagine a post covid and recession celebration. Stay tuned. We will miss seeing all these folks.”
For more background information, please visit posts herein dated July 9, July 21 and 25, 2021. For more background information on the Maine Boatbuilders Show when it was located at 58 Fore Street, please visit post herein dated March 19, 2015.