A lot of people like to say the start of Lake Havasu’s boating season starts with Memorial Day, but anyone who has spent more than a year here knows that it begins much earlier than that. Eager boaters flock to the lake as soon as the weather starts to warm — the braver among us are launching in late February — and by Easter, traffic jams on the lake can be a real problem.

It’s definitely true that summer’s first holiday means the lake is jam-packed with boaters. But for the past 31 years, boating season has kicked off with the Lake Havasu Boat Show.

This year marks the 30th edition of the annual event -- it’s not 31 because organizers had to cancel last year’s festivities due to coronavirus. The Marine Association’s annual exposition features more than 120 exhibitors showing off the latest and greatest watercrafts. This year, the event moves from Lake Havasu State Park to SARA Park’s Havasu 95 Speedway. The change of venue means some new additions as well. Visitors can expect to find a kids corner where children can learn about water activities, and a section honoring military veterans. Returning to the show is the Cornhold Championships, a fun event that offers up cash prizes.

The real attraction, of course, is the boats on display, and you’ll see plenty of those from big name vendors. The show features everything from million-dollar high-performance power boats to family-friendly pontoons. You’ll also find roomy runabouts, decked-out fishing boats, fancy wakeboard/ski boats, as well as plenty of kayaks, paddleboards and other novel ways to putt around on the water.

The boat season is a great opportunity to get a preview of the season ahead.

But it’s also a great opportunity to celebrate an industry that touches all of us in one way or another. Lake Havasu City’s economy is built on tourism, after all, and in the summertime that tourism is almost wholly focused on the water. The Lake Havasu Boat Show starts Friday at noon, and gates open at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $8. See you there.

— Today’s News-Herald

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