2011 Geneva Lakes Boat Show

It is rare in a lifetime that so many knowledgeable and capable people come together in a venue such as this to discuss and advance their common interests. For us, the joy is sharing what we have, our boats and our homes, with people who share our passion and can appreciate what they are seeing. So we’re pleased that you are here.

The week started Monday evening with a reception and dinner at George Plamondon’s elegant Michigan Avenue apartment, what a great place and great location. A wonderful evening, George, it couldn’t have been nicer. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, the Chicago River tour. After we launched at Burnham Harbor, we went through the lock and entered the Chicago River. What a sight it was with the Tribune building behind us, the iconic Wrigley building on our right and the glorious Trump Tower directly ahead. Thanks to Matt Byrne and George for organizing the cruise and the lunch at the Columbia Yacht Club. And thanks to Randy Streblow and Steve Horton for transporting some of the boats to Chicago.

When we first began talking about the pre-show events two years ago, we asked ourselves: “What do we have here at Lake Geneva that makes this place so special?” The answer was the boats, the estates, and of course the lake. The lake is a jewel, pristine and crystalline. None like it anywhere. Then we tried to pick out estates, not just any estate, but estates that had something extra. The Griffith Estate with the wonderful woodwork, the boat collection, the Smithsonian registered arboretum was a natural. The Otzen Estate with its gardens, museum and car collection was outstanding, and the Smith Estate with the wonderful interior and furnishings was spectacular. The Gage boats, and other historic vessels that are part of Lake Geneva’s history helped tell our story. To each one, thank you for opening your homes, and thank you Charles Colman and Steve Mack for your help.

The Wednesday Evening Welcome reception in the Ferro Pavilion at George Williams College was a delight. The musical welcome by the Music by the Lake Singers was spectacular. Watching those enthusiastic young people singing and dancing from their hearts, and seeing the audience respond was something I’ll never forget. And the Wisconsin style camp dinner with burgers and brats followed by a moon-lit boat ride back to Fontana on the Lady of the Lake. What a special evening. Thank you Music Director Christine Flash and campus staff.

Friday evening at the Driehaus Estate! When the first group from ACBS came out to see what we had to offer two years ago, I told them I thought this would be a spectacular finale. I read recently that the estate is the most photographed home in Wisconsin. When we took the first group of guests across the lake in one of the historic steam yachts, I watched as the guests got off the boat and walked up the flag-lined path to the illuminated mansion. To a person they stopped in awe, not quite believing what they were seeing – the gardens, the water features, the children’s village, the art, the collections, everything so special, so unique. And the return boat trip across the lake to the Lake Geneva Country Club in the boats, now outlined with festive lights, I don’t think ever in our lifetime will we have such an experience again. Thanks to Richard and Inese Driehaus for opening their home.

This year’s show had over 150 boats in the Abbey harbor and 30 on land . To put this in perspective our previous record was 104 boats total. The variety and quality of the boats were unprecedented.

Over 600 members and guests attended Saturday evening’s awards dinner where several Blackhawk members were presented awards. Andrew Vogeler won the Jr. Craftsmanship Award for his 1956 15' Milo-Craft Valkyrie "Got Woody?". Paul Miller won Best Canoe for his 1915 16' W.T. Bush Canadian Strip "Two Tone". Peter Mueller took home 2 awards: Most Original for his 1956 17' Willits Bros. Canoe and Best Outboard Race Boat for his 1929 12' Old Towne Raceplane "Nonsense II". Larry Lange was the big winner of the evening taking home 3 awards including the Youth Judging Award, Best Classic Runabout (Restored) and peoples Choice for his 1947 20' Ventor Finned Runabout.

On Sunday Mecum Auctioned off nearly over 70 boats. Not every boat sold but many people walked away new antique and classic boat owners. We hope that the auction will become an annual event.

And to the volunteers from the Blackhawk and Glacier Lakes Chapters, and to our guests, at the end of the day it’s the people who make the show… Thanks to each of you for contributing your time and talent and making it happen. A Special thanks also goes out to the boat show committee: Larry Larkin, Mark Svoboda, George Plamondon, Al Bosworth, Larry Lange, John Barrett, Ted Cartner and Matt Byrne.

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