Chicago Boat Show Won’t Be Sailing Into McCormick Place This Year, Thanks To COVID And Supply Chain Issues


CHICAGO (CBS) — The show must go on. Whoever coined that phrase must not have known about supply chain issues and COVID-19, because today should be the start of the Chicago Boat Show, but as Morning Insider Tim McNicholas shows us, McCormick Place will be quiet.

“We made the very tough decision to postpone the event until next January,” said Ellen Bradley, senior vice president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which produces the Boat Show, which was canceled for the second year in a row.

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The event traditionally is a boater’s paradise; summer fun as far as the eye can see for some nine decades.

The Chicago Boat Show has been an opportunity for tens of thousands in Chicago to escape from winter, even for a few hours at McCormick Place.

But not today, as originally scheduled.

You can blame COVID in part.

“The second influencer was really due to a lack of inventory,” Bradley said.

Yes, that phrase we’ve heard over and over during the pandemic: supply chain concerns. Translation: there aren’t enough parts to make the boats to fill McCormick Place.

“At the boat show, you buy it, and people are really excited,” Bradley said.

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Normally, 600 boats would fill the massive convention center halls in Chicago. Some of those boats would be sold on the spot, ready to jam the waters of Lake Michigan just off our shores by spring.

The industry group behind the McCormick Place show wants you to know you can still order a boat, and have it ready for fun in Chicago.

“What now is happening is that boat isn’t physically there, but the dealer is working with the manufacturer. So you’ll have it in a couple months,” Bradley said.

Bradley is not just a spokesperson for the boating industry. She and her family are avid boaters as well.

“I have two small kids, and boating is one of the few ways that I can get them to put away any iPads, to get excited about being together, and we really look forward to it every summer,” she said.

So as you look at picture perfect Chicago in January, and the reality of the cold, remember this: you can’t go the boat show, but you can dream of June and July, And the jam-packed boats that will be drawn to the cool water on a hot summer day.

Boating season will come, and with a little luck, the Boat Show will be back in 2023.

Despite the recent spike in cases in Chicago, a volleyball tournament expected to draw 18,000 people is set to begin Saturday at McCormick Place.

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But a chess tournament set for next month has been canceled.



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