I remember going to Boblo Island with a friend and her family when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I do not have real specific memories of the island itself, but I do remember the boat ride over and back. I felt like I was on a cruise ship. I had no idea that the steamships that carried passengers to and from the island were almost scrapped - until now.

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On Wednesday, September 22nd, 'Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale', will premier at the Freep Film Festival inside of the Redford Theatre. The documentary is about the island and the efforts to preserve its two steamships, the SS Columbia and the Ste. Claire..

Here is a brief overview from the Freep Festival website,

Boblo Island, one of America’s earliest amusement parks, sparked the imaginations of Detroiters for decades.


Passengers by the thousands reached the island by way of two steamships, SS Columbia and Ste. Claire. In 1993 Boblo Island shut down, and the boats were left to ruin. Mirroring Detroit’s decline and efforts at resurgence, two teams of people doggedly attempt to restore these iconic vessels and save them from the scrapyard.


We meet the New York-based nonprofit resurrecting SS Columbia into a traveling museum destined for the Hudson River, while the Ste. Claire’s fate rests in the hands of an unlikely band of heroes: a doctor, a psychic and an amusement park fanatic.


Narrated by Motown legend Martha Reeves, the documentary explores the Boblo Boats’ colorful history but doesn’t shy away from politically contentious episodes, specifically concerning race and income inequality.

I love the fact that Martha Reeves is the narrator. One ticket will cost you $20, or you can go VIP for early entry with food and drink tickets for $60. Doors open for VIP guests at 6:00 PM. General admission entry at 7:00 PM, with the show starting at 7:30. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.

I really wish I could remember more about being on the island. Do you have memories of the island and the boat ride over? I feel like I remember dancing on the boat? Does anyone else remember dancing? Am I crazy? Wait, don't answer that.

The video below is not the new documentary, but it will give you information on Boblo Island if you are not familiar, or just want to take a look back at its past.

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