Boat, fishing show hooks plenty of folks angling for fun time

In Canton, 4-day event closes on hopeful note of warmer days ahead

April 14, 2003|By Rona Kobell | Rona Kobell,SUN STAFF

You didn't have to be in the market for a Stingray or a Donzi powerboat to enjoy the Canton Boat Show and Fishing Expo yesterday.

Merchants were also selling kayaks, cookware, teak furniture and hot tubs. For those with a smaller budget, there were hammocks, sunglasses and fish-shaped paper-towel holders.

But the best attractions were free - a breeze, and a cloudless sky so blue it practically announced that spring had arrived. And while the warming temperatures didn't quite scream summer, many people walked around the Baltimore Marine Center on Boston Street in shorts. Families brought their dogs, their babies and their friends to bask in the sun, hoping that the day signified the end of a long winter.

"We wanted to take our little guy out, show him some new things," said Sharon Bazzetta of Towson, who attended the event with her husband, Steve, and 4-month-old son, Sean. "With a young baby, you really want to get out and about."

Now that the weather's nice, the Bazzettas say they're ready to plan some outings. In fact, April is largely booked up for them, with flower shows, camping trips, and lacrosse and baseball games.

Though he was inside a boat show tent, Don Gabriel had reason to smile about the weather. The rains Thursday and Friday - the first two days of the four-day event - flooded the area under his cookware exhibit. Despite the efforts of show organizers Joey and Karen Raspe, who arrived at dawn with vacuums to drain the water, Gabriel and others had to raise their booths with plastic risers.

"Thursday and Friday, with the rain, there was just no one here," Gabriel said.

But that wasn't the worst weather the retired Montgomery County police officer encountered while on the road this year. During February's snowstorm, he was stuck for three days in a Wheeling, W.Va., motel. The highways were closed, and little food was available. Fortunately, Gabriel and his wife had a truckful of food on ice and stainless-steel pots perfect for cooking without water or oil. They cooked for all 12 families stuck at the hotel.

Even with the bad weather the first two days, boat salesman Woody Jackson of North East in Cecil County said he sold several boats, including a 42-footer that cost $385,000.

Also, organizers said actor John Travolta, who is in Baltimore filming a movie, dropped by Saturday - though no one knew for sure if he bought a boat.

Boris Borovsky of Reisterstown, a hairdresser, left the show with the keys to a gleaming 20-foot Angler that cost $24,000. He brought his wife, Janelle Sterner, his nieces and nephews, his neighbors and their children to help him shop. Most important, he brought his father-in-law, a construction company owner who financed the purchase.

"I'm so excited," Borovsky said. "I can't wait to go fishing."

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