Officials: Michigan City community not surprised at boat show cancellation
MICHIGAN CITY —
The annual Michigan City Boat show scheduled for this weekend is canceled.
The show has been bringing tourists to the area since 1980.
Bryan Konieczy owns Matey's Restaurant. He says the show is a big weekend for business.
"We probably do 50% more business with that weekend. It's a big number, tens of thousands," says Konieczy.
Laporte County's Tourism Bureau says everyone knows those numbers have been dwindling.
Earlier this month, they received a letter with the official news that the event was cancelled.
The Lake Erie Marine Trades Association said in a letter that to produce a show in future years they would need "a significant level of additional financial support."
Jack Arnett, executive director of Visit Michigan City LaPorte, says the city does not have the money to spend on the event.
"There was no way that the City of Michigan City or the Port Authority or the Convention Visitor's Bureau could look into putting in any more money into an event that wasn't giving the return on investment."
While the City wasn't making money, restaurants like Matey's were.
The restaurant had already made plans for this year's event.
"It's listed in a lot of local publications that went out at the beginning of the year to inform everybody 'Hey, there's a big boat show this weekend, get ready for it," says Konieczy.
The restaurant has now had to reduce staff for the weekend, but food orders can't be returned.
Now the city and the community are looking towards next year.
The City of Michigan City, B & E Marina, the Port Authority, and the Convention Visitor's Bureau have formed a committee to plan for next year.
The committee has contacted a promoter in Chicago and hopes it can turn the event around.
"They just didn't get the job done, and if we want to have a boat show we're going to have to find somebody who can come in early, spend time in the community, and do the ground work that it takes to make a successful show," says Arnett. "There's not a blame to point and things like that. It just needed to freshen up, and we're going to freshen it up a little bit."
The committee says it will look into other options to fill the weekend if a boat show does not work out.