IF YOU GO
What: Chattanooga Boat & Sport Show.
When: Noon-9 p.m. today, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1150 Carter St.
Admission: $7 adults, free for children under 12.
With the mild winter Chattanooga has experienced up to now, boaters may be champing at the bit to get out on Chickamauga Lake.
They'll be able to scratch that itch to some degree this weekend at the Chattanooga Boat & Sport Show at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
The show, according to organizers, is the longest-running and biggest boating event in the Tennessee Valley with more than two football fields worth of boats, accessories and family activities.
It's also a chance, said producer Keith Parker of Athens, Ala.-based BK Productions, to "save thousands [of dollars] on new boats."
He said boat purchases have been on the rise as the country's economic situation slowly improves. That has been borne out in other show and other markets this season, too, he said.
"It continues to move up," Parker said.
The show will feature more than a dozen boat dealers displaying 2012 models in cruisers, ski boats, aluminum boats, wakeboard boats, bass boats, personal watercraft and pontoon boats.
"It'll be the whole gamut," Parker said.
There also will be dealers offering the newest in fishing equipment, marine equipment, water skies, marinas, boat lifts, watersport accessories, swimwear, jackets and inflatables. In addition, fishing tackle dealers will have special offers.
Financial firms and insurance companies will be on hand to handle the paperwork end of being a boat owner.
New this year, on both Saturday and Sunday, according to Parker, will be an X Games-type exhibition of jumps, loops and stunts by the Rich Wieber Bicycle Stunt Team.
Also featured is an appearance by SpongeBob SquarePants of Nickelodeon cartoon fame. A Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency safe boating course is scheduled Saturday for people who want to get their boating license.
On Saturday, children under 12 accompanying an adult will receive a free rod and reel, while supplies last.
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...