Pandemic spurs changes to 2020 Clayton boat show

People gather at the St. Lawrence River for the boat parade in 2015 at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton. Watertown Daily Times

CLAYTON — The Antique Boat Museum is planning to celebrate its annual boat show and auction a little differently, considering COVID-19 is preventing normal operations.

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In a news release, the museum said it plans on using the 56th annual Antique Boat Show and Auction to “pay tribute to the modest beginnings of the now world-famous event.”

Antique and classic boats in the region — along with those coming from outside the north country — are invited to participate in a parade around the islands on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. As of Friday, the routes will include U.S. waters and boaters only due to the border closure. That could change if the border is open by the time the event begins. A limited number of slips will be available for participating boats to dock at the museum Aug. 1.

In addition, boat and engine owners from near and far are invited to put their boat in the virtual Boat Show, which will include a virtual marketplace with vendors to visit and shop, and a virtual auction in a first for the museum.

As an added element to celebrate boats and the Clayton community, admission to the museum will be free Aug. 1 and 2.

“We look forward to a bigger and better 57th Annual Antique Boat Show & Auction celebrating ‘Boats in the 1000 Islands,’ our ACBS Guest Chapter the Manotick Classic Boat Club, and crowning the Best on the River and Queen of the River Aug. 6-8, 2021,” the release states.

Additional schedule updates:

— The 1000 Islands Concours d’Elegance originally scheduled for June 27, 2020 is postponed to June 26, 2021. ABM looks forward to celebrating Sunbeams and Triumphs alongside other antique and classic cars next year.

— The Festival of Oar, Paddle & Sail originally scheduled for July 3, 2020 is canceled.

— The Watch Island Party originally scheduled for Aug. 8, 2020 is rescheduled for a date in 2021 to be announced.

— Originally scheduled for Aug. 14-15, 2020, Need for Speed has been postponed to 2022. “We were excited about our plans for this event and are looking forward to expanding them and making Need for Speed a fantastic celebration of racing in 2022. By postponing until 2022, this keeps Need for Speed in alternate years from the Rideau Ferry Raceboat Regatta allowing participants to attend both,” the release states.

— 1000 Islands Family Day originally postponed to Sept. 13, 2020 is now rescheduled for 2021. “We encourage everyone have some family fun boat watching or boating as part of the re-imagined Boat Show on Saturday, August 1st,” according to the release.

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