Sandpoint Wooden Boat Festival
The 2009 wooden boat show at the Sandpoint marina and city boardwalk was the seventh annual gathering of classic boat lovers and their craft. As in years past, there was another great turnout for the nostalgic event.
“Like for so many, it is bringing back memories of when we were all kids and grandpa's boats and brothers and sisters boats, but there is just something so unique about the classic wooden boats and the roar of the engines and the beauty of the wood. Everybody just preserves it. One little spot of water and they are out with their towel cleaning it off. It is just so spectacular for so many families to come down and see all these boats and it is all free to the public so it is just sharing some history with them and then you hear families talking about dad's boat or grandpa's boat or remember this or remember that boat. So I really think it brings families together and it is really neat to have it on Pend Oreille here.”
Tom Robideaux is a Sandpoint resident whose family has a long history with wooden boats. His love of the old classics is something that has been passed down through the generations.
“Many of the wooden boats appeared at Pend Oreille in the late '30s. A lot of those boats were sold out of Spokane and Coeur d' Alene and up here and so many of the families were connected that way. And that's how my interest grew because my grandfather sold GarWoods. He was a dealer from 1933 through the early '40s and so as a youngster I grew with my grandfather and learned to love wooden boats. And that is where my connection is and always has been, that's where I got my love, from my grandfather.”
Something everyone who attends the festival looks forward to is the boat parade on Saturday afternoon. That's when the vintage boats rev up their engines and head out for their run on Sand Creek. From bridges and boardwalks spectators cheer the proud procession.
“This year Sandpoint just stepped up and I mean, you had thousands of people down there Saturday. It was really, really fun to see that. The parade, it's a community favorite. When you are in the parade you're proud to be in the parade because you are showing off your hardware to the citizens in the community and the fire boat leading it I think the kids just ooh and aah – old and young, I think really like the fire boat. And you can hear every siren or horn that these boats have because it's kind of a fun event for us and it's actually the first time that we can get out on the lake too so we're kind of anxious to get out of that harbor to go out and play and see how they are running. That's the fun part about the parade.”