By ED FRANKS
The first-ever Cape Coral Outdoor Expo and Boat Show held last weekend was a huge success, according to organizer Don Ware. The three-day event began Friday, Dec. 2, and ran through Sunday, Dec. 4.
A photo of the expo grounds from a drone.
Provided by Donald Ware
""It's been like this all weekend," Ware said about the wall-to-wall people that filled the German American Club. "As far as I know, this is the first of it's kind for Pine Island. For many years people have been going to Fort Myers and up and down the Gulf Coast for boats, boating supplies and for their recreational needs. I thought we should bring an event here to Cape Coral, and Pine Island."
There were more than 65 vendors with boats from local and regional dealers and manufactures like Fish Tail Marina, Marine Max, Calusa Certified Marine, Eastward Boats and Seahunter boats.
"I wanted this to include all the latest in outdoor recreation, from kayaks and scuba to cycling and golf," Ware said.
"We also had free seminars from experts each day on boating, fishing, kayaking and yesterday we had sun protection from dermatologists," Ware said. "They screened approximately 60 people and suggested followup for about 50 of them. Living in Florida we should be screened frequently but sometimes people don't make the time. That's why I thought skin screening would be a great addition to the expo.
"The vendors all seem very happy with the turnout and the boat vendors are even selling boats," Ware said. "Overall I'm thrilled that everyone is doing well."
Ray Jahn, general manager of Fish Tale Boats in Fort Myers, said his company had 15 boats for the Expo.
"I can't believe what a great turnout we have," Jahn said. "The attendance through here is better than some of the 'big' shows. And it's not only numbers of people but so many people are shopping for boats and recreational equipment. I've been doing boat shows for many, many years and this is just the perfect venue for Cape Coral, Fort Myers, up and down the southwest coast."
"We have some of the best fresh seafood in Southwest Florida from Cape Coral's Lobster Lady and Matlacha's Old Fish House," Ware said. "We also have Happy Hour featuring a margarita and bloody mary bar.
"Fish Ware Outfitters gave away 200 T-shirts to the first 200 people that arrived each day," Ware said. "We included something for every active lifestyle and budget. This was a great opportunity to find a great deal for the holidays and the Cape has never had anything like this. Next year will be even better."