The first official boat show of the Lake Champlain Chapter was held at Basin Harbor on July 18 and 19, 1986. At the Chapter’s June 15 meeting, John Ladue gave a report on the awards to be plates and silver engraving. They will be titled as follows; The Gulliver Award (boat which comes the furthest distance); an award for the oldest boat; The Participants Choice Award (boat chosen by people who have registered boats for the show); The Peoples Choice Award (boat chosen by majority of votes from spectators); and a special award of recognition for each of two mascots. Ballots will be available at the registration desk and the voting time will be from 10 am – 2 pm.”
By all accounts the show was a resounding success. There were approximately fifty antique and classic boats registered coming by water from marinas on Lake Champlain, Montreal and trailered from New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Albany, New York. The final activity was a banquet where boat show awards were presented and the chapter presented Robert Beach with an engraved silver plate commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Basin Harbor Resort.
The boat show has become an annual event, with repeat performances at the Basin Harbor Resort in 1987 and 1988. Every effort has been made to hold the annual show on both sides of the lake. But during those formative years, a number of long standing boat show features were developed. Every type of wood boat was represented, including in-board and outboard runabouts, sailboats, cruisers, launches, canoes, guide boats, a steamboat, and even a “rocker boat”. A sampling includes, a 1891 Rushton canoe, an 1899 Elco electric launch, an 1899 steam launch, a 1911 Mullins inboard runabout (Watercar), a 1928 racing boat, a 1929 sailboat, a 1929 cruiser, a 1929 commuter, a variety of Chris Craft runabouts from the 1930s, and many more. From the very start our inclusiveness has made our chapter truly unique and welcoming to all who wish to participate.