The scale of the largest in-water boat show in the nation is captured in this aerial shot, on display at MC3. Photo: Billy Black.

52 Years of Boat Show Memories on Display in Annapolis

See the evolution of the Annapolis Boat Shows over the last 50 years through photography and displays this weekend at the Gallery at the Maryland Cultural and Conference Center (MC3) in Annapolis.

The exhibit, called In A Flash, features photos, newspaper clippings, magazines, and even the original ball caps worn by boat show staff from its humble beginnings to its modern-day status as a nautical extravaganza that draws nearly 100,000 people from around the world to the Chesapeake Bay.

Nancy Jacobs, wife of Annapolis Boat Shows’ former president Paul Jacobs, is also an executive board member at MC3 and helped create and organize the exhibit. Mattie Fenton is the executive director of MC3.

“There is so much history to the Annapolis Boat Shows that has never fully been captured in one space and we hope that this exhibit can properly share that story,” said Fenton. “As visitors enter the space, they will be invited to experience a timeline of the boat shows dating back to 1970 … As you walk through the space you will see the progression of the sail and powerboat shows through the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, 2000s and then today.”

The exhibit includes original Annapolis Boat Show posters, featuring artwork by local artists such as Ramon Matheu, Liz Lind, and Kim Hovell.

“The other section of the exhibit includes what we call the ‘Fleming’ section,” says Fenton, “with photographs, prints, and books from both Kevin (father and Jay Fleming (son, a Chesapeake Bay Magazine contributor). You will also see historical mounted calendars provided by photographer John Bildahl and images from Billy Black and Josh Davidson. The exhibit centerpiece includes a small hand-crafted boat provided by Chesapeake Light Craft.”

Guests are invited to a free reception Saturday (6-8pm) and includes a silent art auction, and complimentary refreshments of Annapolis Boat Beer, donated by Forward Brewing, appetizers by Park Deli and summertime beach music by an MC3 DJ. A “Captain’s Basket” will be raffled off that includes free tickets to upcoming music concerts, photographs from Josh Davidson, Annapolitan gear and more.

The event is free but donations are appreciated and guests are asked to RSVP: The exhibit runs through Sept. 3.

The U.S. Powerboat and U.S. Sailboat shows run Oct. 7-10 and Oct. 14-18, respectively. And our parent company, Chesapeake Bay Media will be on hand as a proud media partner of the shows.

Kathy Knotts