Fun at the Boat Show
For many years Bob, our friend Richard and I would take a booth at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. We would offer lights for boats, boat repair, boat cleaning, stereo systems for boats and various other items.
We loved the boat show. It was hard work but fun. The show occurs over the last weekend in October and last from Thursday to Monday. It was long hours and we would set up schedules when each of us worked the booth. We usually were in the 2nd tent opposite the main bathroom. We figured eventually everyone would pass by.
We always included something fun to sell for cash at the booth. Whatever we made on this item would pay for dinner and add some fun.
To that end we offered 12 shot rubber band guns for a few years. The first year we did that we hired a pretty young woman to dress up in shorts, halter, boots and a cowboy hat. We figured she could attract people to the booth and sell the guns.
Unfortunately she had no personality or salesmanship. She stood there like a lump. We eventually told her not to come back.
We, however, set up targets and held contests with people walking by. I once beat the Broward County Sherriff in a target shooting contest. We sold a lot of guns.
At one point, I got on a local radio program and presented one of the DJ’s with a 12 shot gun. He proceeded to shoot his co-host and everyone else in sight. He mentioned our booth and we got some free publicity. I also got him to mention my niece’s birthday on the air in return for 2 more guns. Her friends couldn’t believe it when her name was mentioned on the radio.
Another item we sold was a “Water Balloon Cannon”
This was basically a large elastic tube with a pouch. Two people held each end while the third person pulled back the middle of the band where the pouch was. A balloon filled with water would be placed in the pouch and then the pouch would be let go. The water balloon would go about 150 yards, and split open drenching anyone beneath it.
The Coast Guard eventually banned them on Biscayne Bay when a water balloon hit an 8 year old girl during the Columbus Day Regatta.
The Columbus Day Regatta is ostensibly a Sail boat race from Dinner Key to Elliot Key in Biscayne Bay. It really is an excuse for a hedonistic, drunken party. The boaters, sail and motor, anchor off Elliot Key, get drunk, get naked, have a wild party and stay overnight at Elliot Key. The 2 or 3 Sail Boaters who care about the race and who wins it, stay sober and race back the next day.
We once took the family to the Regatta and had to leave quickly because of all the naked people cavorting around. Our first inkling was when we passed a sailboat crewed by naked women. My son and his friend became very interested in sailing for the next ten minutes. If you are interested you can Google “Columbus Day Regatta” and see what I am talking about. It’s like those “Girls Gone Wild” videos.
The boat show has a rhythm to the type of people who go there on different days.
On Thursday, the serious buyers who had been invited by the dealers came.
Friday was Bimbette Day. 50-60 year old rich guys would come with their 20 something girlfriends. The girls would wear stiletto heeled shoes (FMP’s) short shorts, skin tight pants or tight skirts, low revealing blouses, big hair, enhanced bodies and lots of jewelry. Not really the type of outfits to go on boats where heels are not allowed. They didn’t really care about the boats but were along to provide their “boyfriends” status with other “boys” like themselves.
Saturday and Sunday were family days and Monday the serious buyers returned to actually purchase something.
We all enjoyed Fridays.
One of the legitimate items we sold were stereo’s for boats. We would bring music to play and have a little party with the people passing by.
I would occasionally stop traffic going by and make everyone do the Electric Slide. People seemed to enjoy this, I know I did.
Another thing we would do was make someone a star.
Our booth was usually next to a company that sold electric components for larger boats. They brought big search lights that mounted on the bow pulpits. We co-opted them into helping us.
We waited until some attractive girl went up the steps to the bathroom which was opposite our booth. When the girl came out, we would turn the search light on her and play “Pretty Woman” at maximum volume.
Without fail, Bimbettes and non-Bimbettes all reacted the same:
The girls would all stop, pose and preen. It was fun to watch.