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    August 12th, 2017

    Always The Second Saturday in August

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    Les Cheneaux Islands, Michigan

    Hessel Marina downtown Hessel, Michigan

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    Always the 2nd Saturday In August

    A Les Cheneaux Classic

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    Welcome to the Les Cheneaux Islands

    Easy to Reach, Hard to Leave

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    Festival Of Arts

    Over 70 of the midwest's finest artists

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    Since 1978

    2017 is the 40th Annual Show

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    We welcome you to the area!

    Explore all that Les Cheneaux has to offer!

The Les Cheneaux Antique Wooden Boat Show is held in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the Village of Hessel, Michigan.
Founded in 1978, the event is held every year on the second saturday in August.

August 12, 2017

The 2017 show will be the 40th year of the show. We will be featuring "The Best of 40 Years".

All boats awarded the "Best of Show" in the past 39 years will be invited back to the show to be honored in this milestone event.

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

August 12, 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.



The Les Cheneaux Historical Association sponsors
the Antique Wooden Boat Show.

The Antique Wooden Boat Show is sponsored by the Les Cheneaux Historical Association in cooperation with Mertaugh Boat Works, Hessel Harbor Association and Hessel Marina.  The Historical Association uses proceeds from this event as well as other contributions to maintain and enhance our Historical and Maritime Museums, both of which are located in nearby Cedarville.


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.



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.


Cedarville Trojans Athletic Boosters-Whitefish or Chicken Dinner
5 to 7 pm Cedarville High School

Classic Car Show - Registration, Library 11am to 1 pm- Awards 4:30 pm
Downtown Cedarville

Antique & Classic Boat Corral & Auction- 8:300 am to 5 pm (Auction is at 5 pm)
See Image below for information.
Maritime Museum, M-134,Cedarville,Michigan



Boat Show - All events at Hessel Marina

Pancake Breakfast -7am to 11am

Opening Ceremony- 10am

Festival of Arts 10 am to 5 pm
Juried Art Show

Throughout the Day on the lawn

Food Concessions- 10 am to 5 pm

Channel Cruise exploring the beautiful Les Cheneaux Islands
11:30 am, 1 pm and 2:30 pm
Arnold Transit Co.

Awards Ceremony-4 pm

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 apprciate 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.

showcase 2016 & gallery

  • Showcase Archive of 2016 Show

The Story of the Century Boat Company
The Century Boat Company was founded in 1926 by James and William Welch of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The brothers were winning hydroplane boat races with their designed single step hull craft. Upon being asked by other racers to build boats, they hired William Sherman as General Manager and started to make boats. The first model was the Century Kid, perhaps named after a dream of going 100 m.p.h. someday. Soon the Century Kid and Cyclone models were winning races across the country.

Century Gallery

Compliments of the Century Boat Company


Production grew to 90 boats in 1928 out sizing their small factory. A move to Manistee, Michigan - just across Lake Michigan from Milwaukee - provided a large three story factory to expand the company. However, the Welch brothers stayed in Wisconsin and Sherman quickly moved back as well when George Eddy took over. Century expanded its model line to include other outboards and slowly added inboard models over the next few years.
The 1930's presented tough economic times for all boat manufacturers but Century held on by offering numerous models both small and large. One of the most famous was a gentlemen's racer, the Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt is one of the most collectable Century models today.
In 1933, Gates Harpel became the General Manager and provided continuality of management for the next sixteen years. Century provided a mixture of outboards and inboards for dealers and customers throughout the USA for the prosperous years of the late 1930s and 1940s. Many of the Century dealers were marinas on small lakes and an popular outboard model named Sportsman came with variety of seating arrangements and accessories to fit everyone's taste. Hundreds were built each year. The inboard runabouts named Sea Maid met the demand for the discriminating power boater situated on larger lakes.
During the WWII war years, Century built low slung boats that were used as troop movers across the rivers of Europe. Additionally, thousands of wooden ammunition boxes and wagons were built under government contracts.
After the war, Century no longer made any race boats and concentrated on the recreational boating market. Streamline became the design style of the day and Century made use of it on all its models for a number of years.
Without a doubt the most profitable wooden boat era of the company was the period from 1951 to 1960. Ted Hewitt of New York now owned the company and  he hired the renown industrial designer Richard Arbib in 1954 to update the Century lineup. Ed Greve, the production manager purchased one the first Cal Connell V-8 engines at the Chicago boat show and was eager to build a boat around it. Jaqua Advertising Co. was contracted to redesign the marketing materials and with artist Jack Brouwer they produced some of the most artful catalogs in the industry. The slogan "The Thoroughbred of Boats" and a rearing horse logo became Century trademarks.


Boat Show Gallery 2015

Social media, Contact & Registration





Dockside Traders Application for 2017



Contact Information:

(906) 484-2821


Lodging and Area Information: Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce (906) 484-3935 or