People can check out the boats or enjoy family fun at a newly created spring expo set for May 7 at Woodward Reservoir.
Stanislaus County Parks and Recreation is holding its first Spring Boat Expo as a mixture of recreation and commerce at the scenic reservoir near Oakdale.
Dealers including Bass Pro Shops of Manteca, Bob’s Marine of Modesto and Boat Country of Escalon will have fishing boats and other watercraft on display. Those interested in a boat should be able to take a demo ride on the lake.
The equipment displays are expected to include all-terrain vehicles and personal watercraft. Marine Boat Sales of Lodi and Outboard Technology also will participate, officials said.
The expo will feature other activities for families, such as train shuttle rides, face painting and Mother’s Day photos free of charge near the park’s picnic shelter. A professional photographer will take the portraits, with the photos made available when a family member “likes” Woodward Reservoir’s Facebook page.
Vendors will sell food and drinks. And two radio stations broadcasting from the park will provide disc jockeys and music.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard, county Sheriff’s Department and mussel-sniffing dogs participate in the expo for educational purposes. The dogs are used to inspect boats for unwanted mollusks that wreak havoc on lakes and reservoirs in California.
Bill Donaleski, owner of Bob’s Marine, said he expects to display four or five popular boats at Woodward and have one on the water for demo rides. The business participates in boat shows held in Stockton and Sacramento, the owner said, because it’s often a good way to drum up business.
“You know, out of sight, out of mind. If all the other dealers are there, you need to be there with them,” Donaleski said.
The boat expo, which could become an annual occurrence, is another event intended to boost attendance at the county’s regional parks, said Jami Aggers, director of county environmental resources. Thousands of revelers from all over California have attended the Symbiosis festivals held at Woodward Reservoir in September.
Aggers said the 6,700-acre park is a local treasure, and the boat expo is an opportunity to showcase the attraction.
Aggers said her department is trying to attract visitors to Woodward outside of the peak period from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. “We don’t have an attendance problem in the summer months,” she said.
County parks will permit the commercial boat dealers at the park under its private vendor policy. The standard vendor fees will be waived for the boat dealers for this first-time event, Aggers said.
Woodward Reservoir is on Twenty-Six Mile Road, off Highway 120, north of Oakdale. Admission to the park is $10 per carload. There is no extra cost for the boat expo. More information is available at www.facebook.com/woodwardres.
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321