It's been a Rockford tradition for 41 years, and this weekend's Boat, Vacation and Fishing Show at the Indoor Sports Center is starting to reel in big numbers and bounce back from the effects of a down economy.
"In the past four years there have been a lot of lookers and I think everybody was just afraid to spend the money, but this year we're seeing a major difference. There's a lot of enthusiasm and boats are being bought”, says Showtime Production’s Duane Nichols.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are expected to be spent at this year's expo, and that doesn't include the money spent on hotels, restaurants and businesses from those staying in town for the event. Organizers hope the effects of the show don't stop there, giving local businesses a chance to develop a loyal customer base moving forward.
Bass-ett Baits owner Tim Hamilton says, "I think that's part of being here, the longer you are here, the people are going to come and see you more. You always see new people. I've felt and we have seen that the dollar value is up, so they are spending more personally at this show that I have seen."
More than 15,000 people are expected to come through the gates at this year's expo and while businesses are seeing more people buy compared to years past, the boom in sales could be thanks to an outside source.
"The problem was the banks. The banks are loosening up now so people are getting financed again. If someone put a deposit down on a boat, it was a very hard time trying to get them financed”, says owner of Fox Lake Harbor, Warren Moulis.
The show wraps up Sunday February 19th at the Indoor Sports Center from 11 am to 5 pm.