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40th Annual Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show and Festival of Arts

August 12, 2017

Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula is home to one of the largest antique boat shows in the nation. Les Cheneaux Antique Wooden Boat Show is held in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the village of Hessel, Michigan. Founded in 1978, it is held every year on the second Saturday in August. This year we are showcasing “The Best of 40 Years” which will include many Best of Show winners from the previous 39 shows. All boats awarded the “Best of Show” by either judges or spectators in the past 39 years will be invited back to the show to be honored in this milestone event.


Friday August 11th
Classic Car Show—11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Awards start at 4:30 p.m. Both are in downtown Cedarville
Antique & Classic Boat Corral and Auction—Corral begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs until 5:00 p.m.
Auction begins at 5:00 p.m.
Cedarville Trojans Athletic Boosters—Whitefish or Chicken Dinner 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Saturday Boat Show August 12th 
All events at Hessel Marina

Pancake Breakfast—7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Opening Ceremony—10:00 a.m.
Festival of Arts— 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Juried Art Show with artworks of more than 60 artists on display.
Food Concessions—10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Awards Ceremony—4:00 p.m.

Arnold Transit Co. offers a Channel Cruise exploring the beautiful Les Cheneaux Islands at 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Entertainment throughout the day on the lawn.

Since the 2017 show is our 40th show, we will be featuring “The Best of 40 Years”.

We are very proud to be celebrating “The Best of 40 Years”. The years from 1978 until 2001 the “Spectators’ Choice Best of Show” was chosen by Boat Show Spectators. In 2002 to present, the “Best of Show” has been chosen by the Boat Show Judges and the People’s Choice Award by spectators. For this milestone event we are showcasing many of the Spectators’ Choice Best of Show and Best of Show winners for the past 39 years.

The Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show is held each year in the beautiful Upper Peninsula town of Hessel, Michigan. Some of the country’s finest boats call our rustic Les Cheneaux Islands home.  Most of these boats are used daily during the summer months as a primary mode of transportation to and from the cottages dotting the area’s 36 sheltered islands.  Les Cheneaux has a rich heritage in boat building and repair.  Our craftsmen continue to offer some of the finest restoration and repair services available.

Entries in the boat show arrive each August from as far as California and Florida and include dinghies, rowboats, canoes, launches, sailboats, utilities, runabouts, large cruisers, racers and classic non-wood.

41st Annual Festival of Art, August 12th, 2017

The Festival of Arts is held in conjunction with the Antique Wooden Boat show and invites artists to display and sell a variety of artwork, including photographs, painting, pottery, stained glass, textiles and jewelry.  Around 65 of the midwest’s finest artists participate in this juried show.

Boat Show Week
Enjoy the sites and sounds of the Les Cheneaux Islands. Boat Show brings many visitors and show participants to the area. You may feel you have stepped back in time to the heyday of the wooden boat. The Channels, Bays and Boat Houses of Les Cheneaux are hosts to some of the very classic boats that you will see at the show. To fully appreciate all that Les Cheneaux has to offer….Get out and enjoy our waterways! As our local area Chamber of commerces says…Les Cheneaux, easy to reach, hard to leave.


History of the Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show

The Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show has been a major attraction since it began in 1978 and it continues to improve every year.   Two seasonal residents of the Islands, Chuck Letts and Ken Horsburgh each had beautiful antique wooden boats and felt there were more boats from early 1900 through the 1930’s still used in the Islands than anywhere else because of the cold water and short boating season.  Thus the boat show began in the small town of Hessel.     They formed a committee and had 30 volunteers to help.   Today we attract about 150 antique and classic boats and have more than 300 volunteers to assist with this amazing show.  It is known as one of the largest shows featuring antique and classic wooden boats. Mertaugh Boat Works, which is included at the eastern end of the boat show, had the first Chris-Craft franchise in the United States and continues to thrive.

Admission Price

Spectator Admission:  12 years to Adult: $7.00; Children under 12: free
No animals are allowed in the show.

Directions and Transportation

Hessel can be reached by car, plane or boat.  The Albert Lindberg Airport has a paved 3,700 foot runway.   If traveling via highway, take Exit 359 off I-75 and drive east on M-134 just 16 miles.

For more information, contact lciboatshow@gmail.com.


August 12, 2017


Hessel, MI
Hessel Marina
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