Wooden Boat Show returns to Front Street after fire

By Ava

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) Front Street was blocked off to traffic once more Saturday for the 24th Annual Wooden Boat Show.

A massive fire in September threatened whether or not the boat show would return this year.

"I was concerned about the community because I mean being here was just a huge part of the community where all the quaint little shops and the restaurants were really good," said Jeanne Ashley of North Myrtle Beach.

Ashley showed her boat, the MerSea, which was the 2011 winner of the four-hour "Build A Boat" competition. She said the piles of rubble are a noticeable change on Front Street but she said she hopes the shops will be back soon.

"Just send them lots of good energy, lots of prayers," she said. "Anything that we can do to help them I'm more than happy to do that."

For some, supporting the revival of the 700 block means purchasing a $5 bracelet. The{} proceeds from the sales will go to the Front Street Fire Relief Fund.

Robert Mcalister is a local author and supporter of the South Carolina Maritime Museum. He said the Wooden Boat Show is the museum's largest fundraiser and it keeps the doors open.

"This is the greatest one we've ever had and we were afraid we weren't going to be able to have it because of the fire," he said. "But we were lucky that the fire stopped at our wall and we had some damage to the museum, but we were able to restore it and get it ready for the boat show."

A Harborwalk is also a crowd pleaser, just like the fast-paced race to build a boat.

"Just try to stick to the plans they give you try to beat it under four hours and win at the race at the end," said Cale Cauley, a competitor from John's Island.

As of this week, more than $100,000 was raised for the Front Street Fire Relief Fund.

You can contribute to that cause by going to any First Citizens Bank.

All the money from the fund goes directly to the employees, residents, and business owners who lost everything in the fire.

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