Cape Coral Outdoor Expo and Boat Show under way
The 4th annual Cape Coral Outdoor Expo and Boat Show is in full swing at Sun Splash Family Waterpark, where a boat-enthusiasts dream awaits amongs a myriad of brands, vendors, vessels, outdoor equipment and more from now until Sunday.
“All the big players in the boat markets are here,” said expo director Donald Ware. “We have the biggest to the smallest. It’s just a fun event — a family event, and we want everybody to come out.”
Attendees will find boats galore and everything having to do with the vessels many Cape Coral and Southwest Florida homeowners have in their backyard or marina.
Vendors and distributors are onsite to answer any and all questions you may have. The expo is even offering seminars from experts in kayaking, boating, fishing, sun protection and more.
“We’ve got manufacturers, local dealers — from Punta Gorda down to Naples,” Ware said. “But this is a Cape Coral event. It’s great that we go (elsewhere) for a lot of things, but, we want people to come over the bridge for this one. We want them to come over the bridge from Fort Myers, Naples, Estero — we want them to come over the bridge from Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. Come to Cape Coral because we’re about boating, we’re about outdoors, so come and see what we have.”
Brands such as Walker Marine Group, Action Craft, York Road Marine, Panga Boats USA and more are all on location with beautiful ships of all shapes, sizes and models.
Ware said it’s a great event for the vendors and a great opportunity for locals to take advantage of end-of-the-year sales.
“If they didn’t sell boats here, they wouldn’t be coming back,” Ware said. “And they may not sell them today or tomorrow, or Sunday, but they’re going to make the contact.
“It’s the end of the year, they’re going to make some deals.”
It’s also the perfect opportunity to see what’s out there and compare different makes and models.
“When you’re in a car, and a better car drives by, you can dream,” Ware said. “Cape Coral has over 400 miles of canals, on those 400 miles of canals are a bunch of houses, and every house has a dock in the back, and almost every house has a boat on that dock. So, it’s just the boating capitol of the world. So if you have (a boat) and you’re interested in water, why not come and see what else is out there? Whether you’re going to trade up, or just say, ‘Hey, I’ve got the boat I like.'”
Ware said a vendor at the expo made a great point the other day.
“One of the dealers said, ‘Look, my boats are here, his boats are here, their boats are here.’ So, you can compare the good and bad of every boat, right here, right at this show. It’s a great educational opportunity,” Ware said.
Local residents agree.
“It opens your eyes to different aspects, sizes, shapes of the boats — prices,” said Frank Inserra, a Fort Myers resident out at the expo Friday afternoon. “You absolutely have to check it out. It gives you insight, or as I call it, recon.”
Cape resident Joseph Mills said it’s great to come out and see all that’s out there in the world of boating.
“It makes you jealous,” Mills said with a laugh. “You can try to see if you can upgrade what you do have.”
Mills encouraged boaters in the area to come check out the three-day event.
“I absolutely encourage boat owners to come check it out,” he said. “You’ve got to see what’s new, the technology and everything else. It’s a good eye opener to see what’s out there.”
Even the vendors love it.
Gary Cullen, owner of Cape Coral Marine, is veteran in the boating realm of Southwest Florida, but recently started his own company. He said an event like this is a way to create new clientele and build resources.
“I’m a newer, smaller company in the area,” Cullen said. “I’ve been a long-term guy in the market that’s gone out on my own, so, this gives me exposure to my local market.”
For more information, visit www.CapeCoralMarine.com.
The expo has more than just boats, take Daze Decor for example, it creates custom outdoor furniture made from recycled material built by the Amish by hand.
It offers traditional furniture, chairs, swivel gliders, table sets and more.
“What’s really neat is that we’re a sustainable company,” said Chris Faytis, managing partner with Daze Decor. “Everything here is made from 100 percent recycled material.”
Daze Decor uses type 2 plastics, such as detergent bottles, milk jugs and some water bottles. The company also puts a UV and water-seal protectant on all of its products, with a 20-year warranty.
“It’s perfect for everything from snow in the mountains in Colorado to sitting on your dock here in Southwest Florida,” Faytis said. “From nuts to bolts, we’re all American made, which make us special as well.”
Daze Decor offers 23 different colors for your outdoor furniture. For more information, visit dazedecor.com.
Ware said the Sun Splash location, which the expo has called home for the second year, is an ideal location.
“The venue is great,” Ware said. “There’s so much room — it’s clean.”
Admission to the expo is $5. The first 200 people through the doors each day will receive a free T-shirt.
The expo is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun Splash Family Waterpark is at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.
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