WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The 28th annual Palm Beach International Boat Show begins Thursday at noon.
The boat show features at least 600 boats, ranging in size from 8 to 233 feet long, according to event organizers. But they say there is more to the event than just boats.
"There's certainly other things around that you can shop and look at," said Steve Sheer, director of marketing for Show Management. "There's hammocks for your backyards, there's bicycles floating around here. There's scooters. There's a lot of stuff. You can really make a nice day here even if you're not interested in a boat."
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Sheer says the event brings a lot of money into the local economy. He says during last year's event, visitors spent more than $125 million at the boat show. That helped generate $2.7 million in tax revenue for our area, according to Sheer.
Surrounding businesses say the boat show also helps bring them a lot of new and returning customers.
Brett Marzec, manager at E.R. Bradley's, says his restaurant sees customers from all around the country when the boat show is in town.
"We see a lot of regulars that come back year to year. I know a group of fifteen guys that come in everyday for lunch that love our place and really promote inside for us throughout the entire event," Marzec said.
He says if it wasn't for the boat show and other big events like SunFest, that non-chain restaurants like E.R. Bradley's wouldn't be able to stay afloat in downtown West Palm Beach.
If you plan on visiting the downtown area after stopping by the boat show, restaurant managers say you can expect a wait.
The Palm Beach International Boat Show runs through Sunday, March 24.
For more on the event, visit http://www.showmanagement.com/event/ .