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Clayton Spring Boat Show continues Saturday and Sunday

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CLAYTON — It’s one of the first signs of spring along the St. Lawrence River. The Clayton Spring Boat Show — held at Clayton’s municipal arena every April since the mid-1970s — opened Friday, welcoming boaters from near and far to check out some of the more trendy small vessels of the season.

Whether you’re into water scooters, fiberglass runabouts, pontoons or party boats, the show has something that will spark your interest, Clayton Chamber of Commerce President Christopher D. Bogenschutz said.

“The show is really for anyone on the river who has a love for boating,” Mr. Bogenschutz said.

The 30 vendors at the 2013 Clayton Spring Boat Show also can help you out with purchasing new boat engines, dock systems and even insurance, he said.

Every year, the chamber event attracts a couple of thousand visitors to Clayton’s Cerow Recreation Park Arena, 615 East Line Road.

Some vendors at the show, such as the Clayton Marina, are offering special manufacturer rebates just for the event.

Dennis C. Horton, sales manager with Clayton Marina, had a variety of watercraft on display Friday, from a roughly $16,000 entry-level fishing boat to a high-end $55,000 pontoon boat “with all the bells and whistles.”

“Our biggest seller is the pontoon boats. It’s better bang for the buck and people like how spacious they are,” he said.

Steven R. Gamble, co-owner of Gamble Distributors in Carthage, agreed.

“They’re very economical to run and very stable,” he said, adding that his faster models can reach speeds up to 40 mph.

The top-of-the-line pontoons — such as the $45,000 one his company had on display at the show — come equipped with ski tow bars, changing rooms and even grills, Mr. Gamble said, but the more affordable $20,000 to $25,000 pontoon boats are often more popular among his customers.

Like Gamble Distributors, which has been participating in Clayton’s April boat show for two decades, many of the same vendors continue to participate in the three-day event.

“This is a sold-out show every year,” Mr. Bogenschutz said, adding that these vendors make a good number of sales over the weekend but also get a lot of follow-up business after the boat show.

The boat show continues today and Sunday.

It will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children 9 to 12; children 8 and younger get in free.

At 2 p.m. today, the International Water Levels Coalition will hold an informational seminar at the boat show explaining how low water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are affecting businesses in the region.

For more information, call the Clayton Chamber of Commerce at 686-3771.

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