The 42nd Annual Sunnyland Boat Festival and St. John’s River Cruises

Boat Festival March 24th, 25th, 26th, 2023

St. John’s River Cruise Southbound March 19th – 23rd, 2023

St. John’s River Cruise Northbound March 26th – March 31st, 2023

Dear Fellow Boaters:

I hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday. Now it’s time to start thinking about the Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival and getting your boats ready for the 1st show of the 2023 Boating Season.  Our 2022 show was a huge success and we will continue to use the same format. Just a reminder that we have new docks and you will need several fenders to protect your boat. With the addition of our new launch ramp we no longer feature the Tractor Valet service. Plan to launch and recover your own boat. We will have a launch crew on site to help you launch and recover. You can also use any of the ramps in proximity to the show and arrive by boat. We will have limited trailer parking and tow vehicles will need to be disconnected and vehicles parked in the public parking garage. The registration trailer will be in the same position on Joanna street next to the hotel. Everyone is required to come thru the registration trailer to get your packets and assignments for the show.  A Sunnyland member will be at the intersection of Joanna and Ruby street to personally direct you. Plan to arrive in Tavares on Thursday March 23 and follow the signs to registration.

Thursday Morning Mar 23, ACBS will conduct their quarterly meeting in the Tavares Pavilion at 9am.  Thursday evening the City of Tavares will host a welcome reception at the same location. Friday Mar 24 will feature the Picnic and a Captains Party. Saturday Mar 25 will start with the opening ceremony at 9am. The Ladies luncheon will start at 1130am at the Tavares Civic Center and  Saturday night will be the traditional Dinner banquet. Sunday will start with the awards ceremony followed by church services.

All boat show participants are encouraged to park in the City parking garage which is two blocks from the show.  There will be a shuttle to and from the show site. The 2023 show promises to be a spectacular event as we celebrate the 42nd year of the Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival. This year we are working in concert with the Florida Vintage Raceboat Club (FVRC) and their annual event will start on Friday Mar 17th.  Classic Boats—Race Boats and if that’s not enough, we feature the Famous St Johns River Cruises. You can travel North or South on the St Johns and make this a very memorable experience. That’s more than three weeks of vintage boating on pristine lakes in central Florida.

The success of the Sunnyland Show is attributed to our volunteers and they will in place at 8am on Thursday Mar 23th to start the show, and we close promptly at 5pm. If you arrive after 5pm on Thursday, you will have to come back on Friday morning. If you would like to volunteer for the show, please call Debbie Weiner at 352-609-5134.  We will not be accepting boats on Wednesday Mar 22. If you arrive early, you will not have access to our facilities. All participants must pass through our registration facility to receive the show information. There will be multiple signs to direct you to the show entrance.

Flea Market vendors will be allowed to go in and out of the site on a daily basis. We will allow you to drive in on Thursday, set up and remove your vehicle. If you work out of your vehicle, you can leave it on site for the duration of the show.  If you are a Flea Market Vendor, you must set up on THURSDAY Mar 23. There will be limited vehicle access to the Flea Market on Friday, Saturday and Sunday prior to 8am. The Flea Market area has new concrete. If you use a tent, you CANNOT drive tent pegs into the concrete.

We advertise and sell tickets for our show based on three days; all day Friday, Saturday and until noon on Sunday.  Thursday is our set up day and WE HIGHLY ENCOURAGE YOU ARRIVE ON THURSDAY. THERE WILL BE LIMITED ACCESS ON FRIDAY BECAUSE THE GATES ARE CLOSED FOR TICKET SALES. ON FRIDAY OUR LAND DISPLAY AREA IS NOT ACCESABLE FOR TRACTORS BECAUSE OF FOOT TRAFFIC.  Our show ends Sunday at noon and if the weather is great, the crowd is usually slow to depart.

The Cities of Tavares, Mount Dora and Eustis are working in concert to accommodate the large crowd and there will be many activities. The Sea Plane Base at Wooton Park will be operational and rides will be offered. (Tickets required). Train rides will not be available this year.

The show location is Wooton Park on Lake Dora in Tavares. The GPS address for the show site is: 123 South Joanna Ave, Tavares Florida 32778 or GPS coordinates: 28.48.043N—–81.43.655W

Show registration will opens January 16, 2023. We have updated our on line registration system to be much more user friendly. For 2023 all registrations will be on line and you can choose all the activities you want and pay with Pay Pal or credit card. We will no longer handle paper registration forms, checks or cash.

On behalf of the Sunnyland Chapter of ACBS, we welcome you and your guests to this historical and charming community.  We certainly look forward to seeing all of you at this Spectacular Boating Event. You will have a great time.

We guarantee it!


Terry Fiest