Annual boat show docks at McCormick Place

January 11, 2010 3:29:25 PM PST
It may not be boating weather, but this is a chance to think warm thoughts. Right now, at McCormick Place, they're setting up the annual Chicago Boat, RV and Outdoors Show. ABC 7's Phil Schwarz got a preview of what those longing for better weather will find.

Monday was setup day for the show, as a variety of boats and recreational vehicles were unloaded and prepared for opening day on Wednesday. The logistics of getting everything smoothly into place takes a lot of coordinating.

"We'll target these guys for specific times. We'll do it based on where they're located. There is quite a bit that goes on. We've got cranes and forklifts and teamsters and riggers and an enormous crew that puts this together," said Keith Ogulnick, show manager.

This year's show will have such family attractions as a pirate display and dock dogs taking giant leaps into large tanks of water, but the majority of the show is about the boats.

Some smaller boats and wave runners can be purchased for under $10,000, and there are some financing plans that can make it possible for nearly anyone to purchase a boat.

"We've got a feature called the affordability pavilion. We've got 12 boats that can be financed for less than $250 a month," said Ogulnick.

Though most folks don't plan on making a purchase at the show, you can get some pretty good deals.

"The manufacturers have a lot of non-current product they want to get out of the pipeline. It's a great time to buy," said Jeff Nielsen, Nielsen Enterprises.

"People come down because there are good deals. It's a very competitive environment, because you have all the dealers and manufacturers under one roof," said Mark Biasco, Munson Ski & Marine.

A wide array of recreational vehicles are also on display at the show.

Admission for the show is $10 for adults and free for kids 12 and under.

The show starts Wednesday and runs through the weekend. For more information, visit