Lock downs, toilet paper shortages, closed businesses, unemployment – it’s been more than a little difficult to find many silver linings during the year of Covid-19.

There are a few and one of the ones we especially can appreciate in our world surrounded by water is fishing and boating.

Boat sales and the industries that support the boating and fishing community have enjoyed a fantastic year because getting out on the water was one of the few joys we could find.

That’s why this weekend’s 68th annual Mid-Atlantic Sports and Boat Show is so important.

It’s one of the few places these days where you can actually find a boat to purchase for the upcoming season.

“The fact that there aren’t a lot of boats to buy isn’t about the pandemic, it’s about supply,” said Top Notch Event’s Russ Kostinas, who runs the show for presenters The Virginian-Pilot and the Izaak Walton League. “People went on a spending spree last year and dealers are having trouble getting more boats.

“There are still a few boats out there, but if you are expecting to get one for the summer, you’d better come to the show. Wait much longer and there might not be one to buy.”

The show runs this weekend at the Virginia Beach Convention Center – with hours from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $6.

This year’s show will be slightly smaller than previous, Kostinas said, because of the limited supply on the market.

There will be 25 booth vendors featuring boating-related products and fishing information, and 16 dealers. Among those 16 will be four North Carolina custom boat builders who are shifting their construction from fiberglass-coated wood to all fiberglass in an effort to reduce weight and increase fuel effeciency.

And since we’ve all been cooped up for so long, what better way to spend a few hours reconnecting with the outdoors community and possibly slapping down that stimulus check as a down payment on a new boat.

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