The organizer of this year’s Skaterfest is expecting another big turnout as Skater Powerboats start pouring into Michigan’s Harrison Charter Township this week.
Skaterfest, now in its ninth year, is organized by Skater boat owner Ron Szolack to celebrate the legendary brand. The event takes place August 8-11 and is expected to attract 50 Skater catamarans from around the country.
Skater Powerboats founder and owner Peter Hledin is expected to attend the three-day event as he has in past years, Szolack said. Szolack started Skaterfest to bring owners together and showcase their Skater catamarans.
“I think everyone just has fun meeting everybody, they don’t even care about the boats anymore,” Szolack said. “Everyone just likes to meet and hang out with everyone from all over the country. It’s almost like a backyard barbecue for everybody and the boats are optional.”
Szolack doesn’t charge an entry fee and pays for the participants’ meals during their long weekend in Harrison Charter Township. Skaterfest will follow the same format as in past years with dinner Thursday night at River Rat and on Friday morning owners will launch their boats at Metro Park. Dinner is at the Coliseum.
This is the second year that Metro Park is base camp for Skaterfest. The park provides docks and ample parking for trailers and accommodates the growing crowds for Skaterfest.
“It works out really well,” Szolack said. “We’re using pretty much the same stops and restaurants I’ve been using since I started the thing nine years or so ago.”
On Saturday morning the boats head out for a 120-mile run. Their first stop is for group photos near the Ambassador Bridge and then lunch at Pepper Joe’s in St. Clair, Michigan. After lunch, the Skaters will return to Metro Beach. Dinner is at WaterMark Bar and Grille in St. Clair.
Skaterfest wraps up on Sunday but not before a lunch run to Brownie’s in St. Clair Shores. After lunch the boats will do some aerial photos and start to go home.
Szolack said Skaters from all the decades will be at Skaterfest. Hledin founded the Douglas, Michigan, company in 1978. Szolack enjoys seeing the catamarans from the various eras.
“I pretty much know every new boat that comes out of the factory. I’ve seen them all,” he said.