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Event brings two weekends of fun to Gulfport Harbor

COURTESY GULF COAST YACHT AND BOAT SHOWBoats like these will be on display at the Gulf Coast Yacht and Boat Show for two weekends at Gulfport Harbor.
COURTESY GULF COAST YACHT AND BOAT SHOWBoats like these will be on display at the Gulf Coast Yacht and Boat Show for two weekends at Gulfport Harbor.

This year's Gulf Coast Yacht and Boat Show will be bigger than ever with more than 700 vessels, fishing tournaments, two full weekends of live music and a bikini contest at the Gulfport Harbor.

The vessels range from small craft up to some 100 feet in length. There will be power boats, sailboats and paddle craft. The Miss Geico racing team will have its race boat on display as well.

Also, the marine store is a one-stop shop for enthusiasts, with more than 100 vendors offering a variety of items, including outboard engines, gear and gadgets.

Island View Casino Resort presents the show and offers two fishing tournaments. Billed as The World's Richest Cobia Tournament and The King of the Bulls bull shark tournament, each offers its entire $15,000 purse to one winner.

Rob Lynch, event director, said participants like the format.

"It's biggest fish take all, no points for second, winner gets 15 grand. People like it; they like the big checks," he said. "There's no categories -- if you throw the sloppiest, biggest fish on the dock, you win."

Register for the tournament at www.gulfcoastyachtandboat show.com.

Anglers and boaters can hone their skills through seminars. There also is a Marlin fishing simulator.

The show offers plenty, including attractions to keep even landlubbers entertained. There will be a display of exotic cars and an Indy racing simulator. Professionals will demonstrate the AquaFly jet blade. Kids will have their own beach and a fishing pond that allows them to keep their catch.

Nighttime brings other special events. The first Friday will feature the first leg of a bikini competition from 6 to 11 p.m. The second Friday will feature live country music and the final round of the bikini competition, also from 6 to 11.

The show will be April 8-10 and 15-17. Hours are Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission is $12 per day, payable at the gate. Weekend passes are available only online and are $20 for one weekend or $25 for both weekends. Ages 16 and younger are admitted free.

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