Cleveland Boat Show moves online as I-X Center closes, COVID-19 remains

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(Watch previous coverage of the I-X Center’s closing in the video player above)

CLEVELAND (WJW)– The Progressive Cleveland Boat Show and Fishing Expo is moving to a digital format for 2021.

Long held at the I-X Center, the show will now feature live visits at dealerships, walk-through tours of boats and equipment, and direct chats with sales associates from Jan. 15 to Jan. 24. Participating dealers will also be holding special boat show hours with in-store activities and seminars.

“Forgoing our traditional one-site, in-person exposition has not been an easy decision for us,” said Michelle Burke, president of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, in a news release on Thursday.

“A number of factors came into play in making this decision, the unexpected closing of the I-X Center, the lack of a clear distinction to allow consumer and trade shows to operate, our concerns for the safety and well-being of the thousands of families and hundreds of exhibitors that attend every year given, and the rise in COVID-19 cases across the state, all dictated we create exciting new ways to safely present the latest boats and fishing equipment to the marketplace.”

The Lake Erie Marine Trades Association said plans are in the works for the 2022 Cleveland Boat Show and Fishing Expo to be held in person.

In September, we learned the I-X Center, home of the Cleveland Auto Show, the I-X Indoor Amusement Park and other annual conventions, will be closing by the end of the year. The I-X Corporation, which has handled the day-to-day operations at the facility since 1999, blamed the coronavirus pandemic for decimating the event industry.

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