Wooden boats on display this weekend for annual event

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Antique and classic wood boats will be on display this weekend at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake during the annual Whitefish Woody Weekend boat show.

More than 40 antique and classic boats are expected to be cruising Whitefish Lake and on display this weekend for the annual Whitefish Woody Weekend VII.

The Big Sky Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society presents the premier classic boat events attracting award-winning classic wood boats from all across the Pacific Northwest, California and Canada on June 22-24. The event, hosted by The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, is set to include 42 classic boats. Boats will be on display for the public at the Lodge from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 23.

Organizer Tim Salt likens the boat show to an art gallery — a place for owners to share their boats and love of wood boating with others.

“When the boats were made they were made to last six or eight years,” Salt said. “This is a chance to show off the craftsmanship of the boats, but also a testament to the commitment of those who love, maintain and restore boats. We’re only the temporary caretakers of the boats until we pass them onto the next generation.”

Boats range in age from 1928 to 2016 and most are pre-1960s. There will be 17 different boat manufacturers represented.

The Saturday show offers the chance for attendees to chat with boat owners, and there will also be classic boat water skiing exhibitions and hourly drawings for a free classic boat ride throughout the day.

New last year, the water skiing and boat rides were so successful that it has been expanded with more boats offering rides and organizers are looking for volunteers who would like the chance to water ski behind a wooden boat.

The show includes 21 boats new to Whitefish Woody Weekend, and 29 from outside the Flathead Valley.

“All across the country, boats shows are on the decline,” Salt said. “We’re pretty excited about ours. We have an outstanding venue. Because about half that are coming have never shown here before that keeps the show fresh.”

The event kicks off Friday evening with a boat cruise and parade around Whitefish Lake. The public is encouraged to watch the boats from the shore or docks around the lake as they depart from The Lodge at about 8 p.m.

Salt said while the Saturday show is a great time to talk with the boat owners, the evening cruise is the chance to see the boats out on the water. He notes that Woody Weekend lets boat owners know they are “going to splash and they are going to have fun.”

“That’s the time to see them on the lake and in motion,” he said. “They’re made to go and go fast. That’s where you can see the boats at their best.”

Events wrap up on Sunday morning with a poker run with the wood boats out on the lake followed by a barbecue lunch for participants at the lodge.

On Saturday, the Lodge will provide complimentary valet parking and additional off site parking and shuttle service from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Boat Club Lounge and Lakefront Tiki Bar will provide food and beverage services during the event and live music on Saturday.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information contact Tim Salt at 406-862-5085 or whitefishwoodyweekend@gmail.com.

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