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St. Petersburg Boat Show sees big increase in attendance

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image Mitch Traphagen Photo

Saturday was a big day at the boat show.

By Mitch Traphagen

ST. PETERSBURG — With the economic slowdown, many companies have cut back — with few more so than boating manufacturers as people turned their focus to essentials rather than what some perceive as luxuries. 
Boat shows over the past few years have reflected that trend with few vendors setting booths and displays and fewer visitors walking the aisles. 

If the 2011 St. Petersburg Boat Show is any indication, however, things are definitely turning around.  The four-day show closed on Sunday with near perfect weather throughout the run and reported an 18 percent increase in overall attendance from last year, with Saturday the biggest day of the event. 

The boat show was held at Progress Energy Ecenter for the arts, Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park in downtown St. Petersburg.  It featured a wide selection of boating-related vendors, along with new and used sail and power boats for visitors to visit, dream about and, in some cases, even purchase. 

The event also included 60 boating related seminars and provided visitors with free iPhone and Android apps to help navigate the show.

Tampa Bay area musician Steve Hall performing with the Eric Stone Band at the show’s after hours party. Mitch Traphagen Photo

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