The Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show has been a major attraction since it began in 1978 and it continues to improve every year. Two seasonal residents of the Islands, Chuck Letts and Ken Horsburgh each had beautiful antique wooden boats and felt there were more boats from early 1900 through the 1930’s still used in the Islands than anywhere else because of the cold water and short boating season. Thus the boat show began in the small town of Hessel. They formed a committee and had 30 volunteers to help. Today we attract about 150 antique and classic boats and have more than 300 volunteers to assist with this amazing show. It is known as one of the largest shows featuring antique and classic wooden boats. Mertaugh Boat Works, which is included at the eastern end of the boat show, had the first Chris-Craft franchise in the United States and continues to thrive.
The Festival of Arts is held in conjunction with the Antique Wooden Boat show and invites artists to display and sell a variety of artwork, including photographs, painting, pottery, stained glass, textiles and jewelry. Around 65 of the Midwest’s finest artists participate in this juried show.