Rain Doesn’t Stop Buyers
at the St Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show
A weekday crowd of 300 waited in line for the opening of the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show last Thursday, despite overcast skies and the onset of unseasonal, cooler temperatures. A torrential downpour greeted hearty Friday show-goers, but die-hards drizzled in throughout the day, followed by a brisk return over the weekend, with several companies reporting strong sales activity.
“The weather certainly had an impact on overall attendance, but the rain sure didn’t stop the serious boaters who were there,” said Show Management COO Dane Graziano. “The docks were gangbusters on Sunday – in fact, you couldn’t even see wood on the docks due to the number of people. The show itself looked beautiful and the exhibitors were ready to sell. The enclosed tents and closed environment worked particularly well and kept exhibitors and customers comfortable and dry.”
While attendance figures have not been released, Sail America Executive Director Jonathan Banks concurred that the outcome was positive coming out of the show.
“Most exhibitors I spoke with reported a strong St. Pete Show,” he said. “Saturday and Sunday were strong days and exhibitors were happy with both the number and quality of the attendees. Many retail vendors reported sales similar to, or better than last year, while some reported very strong sales. Gill North America, for one, capitalized on the bad weather and sold twice as much foul weather gear as last year!”
In addition, Banks said exhibitors from the in-water section of the show were equally positive about the number and quality of prospects in attendance, along with the culmination of qualified leads.
“I also heard very positive response about the new show layout including a dedicated sailing accessories tent and in-water sailing venue,” said Banks. “The accessories tent was busy all four days of the show, even during periods of heavy rain. The fact that all show attendees had to pass through this tent worked to our exhibitors’ advantage.”
Graziano and Banks both agreed that the partnership between Show Management and Sail America to jointly promote the show produced another winner for exhibitors and consumers alike.
“The St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show with a combination of sail and power boats was a win-win proposition this year once again, and for the second year, has established itself as the top boat show in the market,” said Graziano.
“We worked very well together and the partnership created a successful show that showcased the best of sail and power,” added Banks. “Our seminar series featured over 25 seminar speakers with 35 topics, while the Discover Sailing program was fully booked for the days on which the boats were able to sail. The Latitudes & Attitudes party was also a big hit, with 500+ attending.”
Strong media coverage helped promote the show and draw attendance within the region. Documented media successes include the following coverage:
WTVT Fox 13's "Good Day" morning show broadcast several live interviews and promos from the show from 6 a.m.-9 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, with meteorologist Dave Osterberg, who interviewed Chuck Bolt of Show Management; Sail America Executive Director Jonathan Banks, who discussed the show's free Discover Sailing sailboat rides and the informative sailing, power boating and fishing seminars offered free to show-goers. Osterberg also interviewed Darren Plymale, General Manager of Galati Yachts, who gave Dave a tour of his 2010 Viking Yacht.
ABC Action News "AM Live," morning show with reporter (and also local DJ) Dave McKay broadcast several live interviews and promos from show on Sat., Dec. 5, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. McKay interviewed Dane Graziano, Show Management chief operating officer and senior vice president, who discussed show highlights; Bill Bolin, vice president, sales and marketing, with Island Packet Yachts, who discussed the show's Discover Sailing and seminar program and gave McKay a tour of Island Packet's award-winning "Estero" sailboat. McKay also interviewed Len Garofoli of Pier One Yacht Sales, who gave McKay a tour of his 54' Navigator Pilot House and discussed the show.
WTSP-TV (CBS) did an advance of the show on Wednesday, naming it an "Event of the Week."
WFLA-TV (NBC) came out and shot videography for its broadcast pieces on the show.
The St. Petersburg Times gave the show full-page coverage by Outdoor Editor Terry Tomalin with a color photo in the paper's Gulf & Bay section on Friday, Dec. 4. Plus, show was featured in the paper's Weekend section with photo on the same day. In addition, Online Editor Sherry Robinson did a feature,"Hooked on Fishing," for the paper's TampaBay.com website with article, photo and interview of Capt. Don Dingman, about the show's "Hook The Future" Fishing Clinics that posted Wed., Dec. 2.
Tampa Tribune's TBO.extra included the show on its website and was listed in the “Things to Do” section of the print edition.
Jon Singley, an Ocala-based photographer who works with The New York Times and NY Times Group of Newspapers, attended the show and shot for the Ocala Star-Banner and interviewed a couple of Marion County residents attending and enjoying the show. He said his photos with captions will be posted on the newspaper's photo gallery at ocala.com within the next two weeks.
Mada Brooks, a freelancer who has published in USA Today, came to the show interested in doing an article on marine energy needs. She interviewed seminar speaker Bob Williams also toured the docks and interviewed various exhibitors.
CENTRO Tampa did an article in Spanish seminar speaker Capt. Sergio Atanes with color photo that was featured online and in hard copy version of Hispanic publication.
Blurbs and/or short advance articles in the Ocala Star-Banner, Tampa Bay Weekly, Lakeland Ledger, Villages Daily Sun, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Bradenton Herald's website, Pinellas Life's website.
Additional news release pick-up that included show coverage was also featured in Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, City of St. Petersburg/Clearwater Convention & Visitors Bureau, St. Pete Pier.com, Tampa Bay Metromix.com, events.polkmom.com, and other websites, such as digg.com, eventful.com and about.com.