By Phoebe Muthart
A nice lake breeze and temperatures in the mid-70s greeted those walking out onto the pier and boat slips at Oakwood Resort to view the variety of wooden and a few antique boats on display Saturday, June 22.
The third annual Wawasee Wooden Boat Rally drew throngs of folks walking the new Oakwood docks and to admire 20 boats in the water, as well as seven boats in the on-shore display area.
The show began at 10 a.m. with boats arriving for the annual boat show. But the pier area wasn’t the only place to get an up-close view of the wooden boats. There is also an on-land display area for those who preferred leaving their boats parked on trailers. These boats were found on the lawn near the Oakwood Event Center.
The show lasted until 4 p.m. and later that day a Thunder Run around Lake Wawasee followed. Fortunately, the dismal weather forecast proved to be wrong and by the conclusion of the rally, there was a sunny sky for the Thunder Run circuit around the lake. Fifteen boats made the loop to the delight of many on-shore admirers.
Many of these boats are seen each Sunday morning for the Thunder Run around the lake, but the show gave people the opportunity to get an up close look at the wooden boats of yesteryear. Among the attendees were three boats new to the lake, confirming the belief in the growing local popularity of wooden boating.
“There’s been quite a resurgence of boats in the last seven years,” said Jeanne Knecht, who organizes the annual boat show with her husband, Clarke. “We again had a sensational variety of boats from a one of a kind Wagemaker/Arnolt to a twin engine 1949 Chris Craft Sportsman.”
Boats by Century, PennYan, Riva and Hacker Craft, as well as others, were on display in vintages ranging from 1932 to 2014 making for a most varied and interesting collection, she noted.
There were about 27 boats this year, which Jeanie said was about average. “We are down just a bit,” she said.
Nonetheless, the crowd enjoyed viewing the variety of wooden and antique boats. The next day was another round of Thunder Run.
“We had a glorious sunny day for our sixth Thunder Run of the year, and the turnout was as good as the weather,” Jeanne said. “We had 21 participants, which included two boats new to the lake: Oh, Behave, a CC Riviera, and On Point, a twin engine CC Sportsman.”
Saturday’s event was not a judged event.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/wawaseewoodenboats.