Wooden boat owners and enthusiasts will gather along historic and scenic Bayou Teche in downtown Franklin, Louisiana for the seventh Bayou Teche Wooden Boat Show set for April 21-23.
This year’s show is the seventh event. The 2015 BTWB would have been the sixth, but severe weather prompted cancellation. It was then held in 2016.
“It’s an idea that grew out of a breakfast table discussion at a local diner and has taken on a life of its own,” said co-organizer Roger Stouff. “We’re truly astounded at the growth and participation.”
Stouff, Gary Blum and Larry Couvillier began with 12 boats, half of which belonged to themselves, and the rest from both local residents and owners outside of St. Mary Parish. By the fifth show participation had quadrupled, with boat owners from Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama and more in attendance.
The BTWBS has become one of the fastest-growing venues for wooden vessels both antique and modern in the Southeast, but has managed to remain a laid-back event held in conjunction with the Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival, both set along Parc sur la Teche in Franklin. “There’s nothing else like it,” Stouff said. “Gary, Larry and I started all this to share our love of wooden watercraft with this community, people who might never have seen these vessels and their outstanding craftsmanship. We’ve succeeded beyond our wildest expectations.”
Past shows have featured hand-crafted Cajun skiffs and bateaus of cypress, wooden sailboats, classic Chris Craft, Garwood, Correct Craft, Lyman and Thompson runabouts, cypress pirogues and dugouts as well as many other varieties of boats from various regions of the United States and abroad. “It’s astounding to see the variety,” Stouff said. “It really makes you realize how much the history of much of the world has been molded by vessels made of wood, far longer than boats and ship have been constructed of any other material.”
The show begins Friday, April 21, at 5 p.m. and continues through Sunday at about noon. Saturday is typically the best day to see the most boats, as many of our out-of-town and out-of-state guests arrive Friday afternoon and depart Sunday morning.
Bayou Teche has recently been named an America’s Scenic Byway and part of the National Park Service Water Trails System.
Visit the BTWBS website at www.techeboatshow.com.