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.
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.
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.
12 years to Adult: $8.00; Children under 12: free
No animals are allowed in the show.