CEDAR FALLS — As couples and families browsed the Crestliner boats on the showroom floor from Iowa Falls Marine, owner Mark Arends said all things considered, the crowd Saturday morning was pretty good.
That was despite the Iowa State Patrol and the National Weather Service discouraging people from driving during blizzard-like conditions this weekend.
“It’s not bad. I mean, the weather really stopped a lot of people” on Friday, Arends said. “Today hasn’t been as bad.”
Thousands were expected to head to the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls this weekend for the 32nd annual Iowa Boat, RV and Vacation Show, which continues Sunday.
Arends and his employees brought 11 different 16- to 21-foot fishing and ski boats as well as pontoons, wanting to show off the latest models up close and personal.
“I think they’re looking for anything that makes them feel like spring,” he said.
Show organizers used the UNI-Dome’s climate-controlled atmosphere to entice attendees to the show in a Facebook post Saturday morning, thanking those who plowed and shoveled.
“It’s cold outside but it’s 70 (degrees) in here,” the post read.
Iowa Sports Shows co-owner Kade Hoppenworth said the boat show — one of three the company puts on annually — allows attendees to browse different models, brands, sizes and prices from a variety of local companies.
“It’s just a great, local event that gets people out of their house, and local business owners can showcase their products for 2020,” Hoppenworth said.
For those looking for what to do with their new boat, seminars from local pros were scheduled all three days.
Capt. Lee Haasch, from Outdoor Bound TV, taught “Catching Kings with Your Walleye Gear,” instructing people on how the fishing tackle they use to catch walleye can be used to fish for salmon and trout in the Great Lakes.
“They want to catch more fish, and I want to help them do it,” Haasch said.
Darrin Siefken, who owns Crawdaddy Outdoors in Waverly, went over the best places to put in a kayak, places to avoid because of overcrowding or too many motorized boats, and how to tell which sandbars were OK to camp on and which could be considered trespassing.
“I promise you there are lots of opportunities to paddle out there, whether it be rivers or lakes or marshes,” Siefken told the couple dozen attendees. “I think we’re pretty blessed in Northeast Iowa to have some of the best rivers in the state.”
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