Editor's ColumnRobin Copeland

There’s No Business Like Show Business

Darling Harbour has long been a popular playground for Sydneysiders, with its central harbourside location and myriad attractions.
From July 28 through August 1, the complex will attract scores of boating, fishing and outdoors enthusiasts for the 2011 Sydney International Boat Show, the largest recreational boating exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere.
In an industry that in Australia is worth around $5.5 billion per year, more than 280 exhibitors, among them the cream of the manufacturers, retailers, importers and distributors will display their goods and services to upwards of 75,000 visitors.  
All six halls of the massive Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre will be packed with many millions of dollars worth of marine related products, from boats to boat trailers, fishing tackle to marine electronics, all manner of marine engines and general boating accessories of all shapes, sizes and applications.
On the adjoining Cockle Bay, the largest marina built specifically for a boat show will be home to the ‘dream boats’, blue water cruisers, power and sail, many carrying prices that equal a Sydney waterfront.
Now in its 44th year, this will be the 23rd staging of the show at the Darling Harbour complex which houses an almost bewildering array of attractions.
Domenic Genua, the BIA’s marketing and event manager, said the feedback had shown that show visitors sought to be educated and entertained.
“We believe we have reached a stage where every member of a family unit visiting Darling Harbour during the show will find something to do, something to excite the senses, something to learn, whether that be about boats or everything else that can be associated with the boating lifestyle,” he said.
A long-time attraction has been the Fishing Clinic, where everyone who has ever ‘dangled a line’ can learn and be entertained by experts. The clinic has been so successful that it invariably plays to standing-room only audiences as MC and popular television and radio personality Mike Bailey introduces the line-up of angling ‘gurus’.
Tales of the sea are told at the Better Boating Lounge by a range of guest speakers, among them kayaker Sean Smith who has won fame as “the Fat Paddler” on his adventures, Sailing in My Sarong author Linda Frylink-Anderson, and Peter and Phillip Jenkins who have a family history of prostate cancer and, following the show, will set out to travel 9,500kms around Australia’s coastline in a ‘rubber ducky’ aiming to raise more than $200,000 to fight the disease.
Then there’s the Historic Vessels Display, which will feature one of the world’s oldest operational coal-burning tugboats, the 1902-built Waratah and the classic Edwardian steam launch Lady Hopetoun. And for shear bizarreness it’s hard to beat the often hilarious Boat Building Competition which involves teams of Aussie and Kiwi boat builders constructing “sea going vessels” with minimal tools and materials and racing them around Cockle Bay within a specified time.
Yes, There’s no business like show business like no business we know, Everything about it is appealing … Let’s go on with the show!
Robin Copeland