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Sunsation Sun Run Coming Back Strong

The weather forecast for last year’s Sunsation Sun Run—the Algonac, Mich., company’s first official customer-gathering in more than 15 years—was bleak. Hard rain transformed what was supposed to be an indoor/outdoor welcome party at the Sunsation Powerboats factory the night before the run into an entirely indoor celebration. But though many if not most of the 200-plus guests on hand doubted the next day’s outing on Lake St. Clair would happen, that didn’t put a damper on the party, much less stop it.

On and off the water, Sunsation owners are a passionate lot.

The first Sun Run attracted pristine Sunsation models from every era. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

By 10 a.m. the following morning, the rain was gone and stayed that way through the mid-afternoon. The inaugural Sunsation Sun Run, which celebrated the company’s 40th anniversary and attracted almost 90 “Sunnys” from vintage closed-deck sportboats to brand-new center consoles, was on.

And now, by popular demand as the saying goes, it’s back. Registration for the second-year happening, which is set for August 3-4, opened Friday. The only requirement for participants is that they own and bring their Sunsation model. There is no registration fee.

“We will do a similar run to the one we did in 2022, but try to keep the boats all together instead of splitting up in groups,” said Ryan Wenk, Sunsation’s national sales and marketing manager.

A boatful of participants from key Sunsation dealer Performance Boat Center came to support the 2022 event—and will return this year.

Among last year’s participants was Brett Manire, who co-owns Performance Boat Center, which is headquartered in Osage Beach, Mo., with business partner Mark Waddington. Performance Boat Center is Sunsation’s largest dealership and Waddington is an investor in the center console company.

Manire plans to return to this year’s Sun Run.

“It was a blast with lots of cool Sunsation history and a very cool venue for a run,” he said. “It was a lot like a huge Florida Powerboat Club poker run, but all the boats were 25-, 28-, and 32-footers owned by a lot super-nice, hard-working folks who are proud of their machines.”

New for this 2023 event will be a Sunsation “Boat Show/Street Party” on August 3, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., in downtown New Baltimore on the shores of Lake St. Clair.

“Most of the details are still to be ironed out, but we are inviting our customers to display their boats,” Wenk explained. “Sunsations of all kinds will fill the streets for the evening. The street party is open to the public, but we will have a customer only area.”

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Sunsation’s Joe and Wayne Schaldenbrand are eager to welcome customers back to Michigan to celebrate their brand.

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