Perhaps no other event in the Myrtle Beach area is as underrated and more modestly named than the Grand Strand Boat Show & Sportsman Expo. Yes, there are boats, and lots of them. And, of course, there are lots of sportsmen on hand to check out the latest in outdoor sports.
But this 31st annual event, held Jan. 9-11 in the main ballroom of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, has so much more than the name indicates. Featuring a wide selection of fishing, hunting and other recreational-sports related gear and gadgets, the Grand Strand Boat Show & Sportsman Expo is the ultimate place to be for folks who truly believe life is better outdoors.
Rated as one of the largest boating and fishing expos in the Southeastern United States, this three-day event attracts not only the most popular outfitters and manufacturers displaying their wares at booths throughout the convention center, but it also brings in hundreds of shoppers to snap up some of the best boating bargains. Event organizers say this year’s installment will see more boat manufacturers and other vendors than ever before, and that’s saying a lot.
Featuring a broad array of pleasure boats, ski boats, inshore and offshore fishing boats, pontoon boats, power boats, sailboats, catamarans, trawlers, kayaks, paddle boats and more, the Grand Strand Boat Show transforms the Myrtle Beach Convention Center into a huge dry marina. Climb aboard state-of-the-art yachts and run-of-the-mill John boats and everything in between.
Visitors who already have boats can trick them out with the latest in fishing technology, such as fish-finders and GPS devices that deliver you directly to action. Fishing rods and reels, high-tech performance-enhancing gadgets, unique lures and rigs and an endless supply of fishing and boating-related equipment are on full display.
The Grand Strand Boat Show also features several entertainment activities and famous guest speakers from the great outdoors, offering tips, advice and introductions of the latest products to help you bring home the big ones. That includes wild game on dry land as well as from the water as hunting has become a major theme at the event. There are also special interactive hunting and fishing games where you can go on a virtual outdoor experience, and special exhibitions will be on hand to offer some unique entertainment. Past appearances include Swampmonster the Alligator Wrestler and other side show acts.
Check out hunting rifles, archery equipment, deer stands, duck decoys, camo apparel and accessories, animal calls and a whole ballroom filled with odds and ends to make your hunting and fishing trips successful ones. Dealers are on hand to demonstrate their wares and offer advice on which items might best fit the type of hunting and fishing you prefer.
The show also offers top-of-the-line camping gear for both the primitive outdoorsman and the “high-tech redneck” who love the modern method of roughing it. Check out the displays of all-terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles, customized golf carts and other specialty vehicles. Take one for a test drive around the parking lot, where other boats and machinery are put on display. If everything you need isn't under one roof, it's probably in the parking lot.
The show opens Friday and runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday's hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the show wraps up Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for children under 12 and kids under 5 are admitted free. For more information, visit www.grandstrandboatshow.com.
(Photo Courtesy: marinesource.com)