MICHIGAN CITY | An alligator show is among the new features of the 34th annual In-Water Boat Show in Michigan City.
The show featuring the latest in watercraft and other marine-related products always ranks among the best-attended local events, drawing thousands over its four-day period.
"It's a huge event," said Jack Arnett, executive director of the LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Hundreds of boats, including some costing more than $1 million, will be docked in the slips at Washington Park for people to board during the show.
Watercraft as small as jet skis and pontoons and other products are available for purchase with hundreds of dealers and other marine vendors offering assistance.
"Boats and watercraft come in all different shapes and price points," said Ken Alvey, director of the show.
Other highlights will include the Swampmaster Alligator Show featuring Jeff Quattrocchi handling an 8-foot long American alligator and other reptiles.
Children can also have their picture taken handling a baby alligator.
There are more attractions like the Party Barge, a floating pavilion for people to mingle with other boating enthusiasts over their favorite beverage, and the Brunswick Experience Truck.
The truck is something new to the show that allows a simulated experience of maneuvering a boat, especially important for beginners.
"It gives them a chance at sharpening their skills before they hit the water," said Shaun Foley, a spokesman for the show.
Arnett said the economic impact of the boat show officially will be determined for the first time by a company used to measure the amount of money other major events in LaPorte County bring locally.
He didn't want to speculate where the boat show ranks among other major events like the recently held Great Lakes Grand Prix, but felt it will be high on the list.
"It's certainly a huge event," said Arnett.
The show runs from noon to 8 p.m. Aug. 22 and 23, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 24, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m on Aug. 25.
General admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors age 60 and over while children 12 and younger get in free.