The temperatures for 2012’s Martin Luther King Day weekend are finally supposed to dip below freezing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go boating. The Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, Sports& RV Show has a world of boating at McCormick Place. And there are even actual events that can get ticket holders on the water.
Our favorite is the Power Boat Docking Challenge. It’s essentially a live video game, with show participants competing against the clock, steering and docking a 4-foot, twin engine, remote-controlled power boat down a 20 foot pool into a marina and, ultimately, a slip. Tell us that a 10-year-old is not going to humiliate the adults and win this?
Anyone 10 and older can also learn to SCUBA, in the comfort of a heated pool. Instructors will explain basic diving rules and skills, then you get to take the plunge. All equipment is provided. And it’s free.
If you prefer to be above the water, learn about and test kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards at the Paddlefest part of the exhibit.
Or, if your children prefer standing next to the water, the Huck Finn Trout Pond will be stocked with rainbow trout. But it’s only open to people under 12.
If you or your child are interested in cooking that trout, though, you can head to the Ultimate Camp Cooking show, with chefs and comedians Pat Mac and Mike Faverman.
Even if you don’t want to learn anything, the boat show highlight will be the Rail Jam – a stunt show, produced by Step Up Productions, in which professional wakeboarders will perform flips and tricks over a 100 foot pool.
There will also be a lot of information and demonstrations for those looking to buy boats or those looking to take care of the boats they already own.
The show runs Thursday, Jan. 12, through Monday, Jan. 16 at McCormick Place. You can purchase tickets here. All online e-ticket purchases include a 1-year magazine subscription to Yachting, Spa, Ski, Boating or Soundings magazine.