2005 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show www.flibs.net
Thursday, November 3 - through Sunday, November 6, 2005
A last-minute blitz to get the word out
- by JoAnn W. Goddard
-- Power is on. Most boats are in. Tents are up. Kaye Pearson
has built another Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
; now the question is: Will people come?
“It’s the one thing that keeps me awake at night,” says Pearson
, president of Yachting Promotions Inc., which produces the big show for the Marine
Industries Association of South Florida
In addition to the ads that have been placed in the Wall Street Journal, the New York
Times and USA Today, Pearson says organizers have booked another rounds of ads in Florida
publications. “It’s close enough for them to make last-minute arrangements,” says Pearson.
While he can’t project
the number of people who will attend the show, Pearson says that it has at least generated interest. On Monday afternoon he got a message to return a call to the New York
Times, which was planning to do a story on the show. In addition, the show’s temporary Web site, www.flibs.net
, which was set up last week because the Show Management site was down, got some 3,000 hits in two days, says Pearson.
“It’s very reassuring to see that happen,” says Pearson. “We think we’re getting the word out.”
With two days left until the show’s Thursday opening, Pearson says preparations are now on track with a typical setup. The most daunting problem his crews have had to deal with is the 25-knot winds blowing through Fort Lauderdale, making it difficult to put the skins on the few remaining tents that are not already up.’
More than 600 of the 850 expected in-water boats are in place, Pearson says. The rest are due in today.
Pearson says he has spent the past week “chipping away” at problems, including power outages, and restaurant and hotel
availability. “We’ve been gradually eliminating people’s doubts,” says Pearson.
Pearson says he hired between 700 and 800 workers to help set up the show, in addition to the scores of employees of exhibitors who have been setting up their own booths. Cleanup is a constant effort, Pearson says. Crews have daily been sweeping sidewalks and sifting debris from the harbors.
— JoAnn W. Goddard
Trade Only Today
Streetlights still out, but lines gone at pumps
~ by Jim Flannery
FORT LAUDERDALE — The streetlights are still out and a lot of the traffic signals are down, but most of the debris has been cleaned up downtown, and the bars and restaurants on Las Olas Boulevard are buzzing again at night.
“It’s amazing that in a week we’ve gone from two-hour lines at the gas pump to no lines at all,” said Nikki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, this morning.
With the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
coming up Thursday, Grossman’s message comes through loud and clear:
Hurricanes are a fact of life in South Florida, but the region’s economy depends on tourism.
And so, less than two weeks after a Category 3 hurricane
, the region says it is ready to embrace an influx of visitors for one of the biggest boat shows in the world.
“Most of the places that people come to visit are open,” says Grossman. “They’re not all open, some are not completely open, some are not on full power but using generators — but they’re open.”
A hundred of Broward County’s 680 hotels are back in business, with about 8,000 rooms. The Bahia
Mar and Pier 66 beach resorts are open, though both have had to close some damaged rooms. The Yankee Clipper has closed its beachside facilities for repair and renovation
, but its off-beach rooms are available. The Yankee Trader is open, as is the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Hotel
on 17th Street and the big Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Grossman says.
The Embassy Suites on 17th Street will remain closed until Nov. 12. Mai-Kai, Fort Lauderdale’s famous Polynesian restaurant, is scheduled to reopen today. Sawgrass Mills, the outlet mall, and the upscale Galleria Mall already have reopened.
Grossman says electric
power has been restored to more than half of the county. Most of the remaining outages are in the western reaches of the county, though there are still lots of small pockets where power is still out.
Florida Power & Light now has pushed the anticipated date for full power restoration
up to Nov. 12. It originally had been talking Nov. 22.
Some 1,200 traffic signals — about half of them — are working again in the county. Police are posted at most of the busier intersections where traffic lights are out to enforce four-way stops.
Almost all the streets lights are still out. Grossman says an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew remains in effect in Fort Lauderdale for safety
reasons because the streets are so dark.
has been a gargantuan task. Just about every tree in the county lost
branches, and many of them snapped or were uprooted. “We’ve got 8 million cubic yards of debris to remove,” she said. “It’s getting done.”
Grossman says it’s darned near miraculous that only 20 people died statewide in Wilma, most of them from avoidable storm-related accidents.
“The second miracle is that this boat show is going to open at all,” she said. “Putting on the boat show was very high on our list of priorities. This is a boating
community, the Venice of America.”
— Jim Flannery