FRANKENMUTH — Main Street is home to some of the city’s most popular attractions, but tourists can find some German hospitality on the water in town, as well.
The Cass River, running along the east side of Main Street, is where Jerry and Bev Kabat make their living.
“A lot of locals may not appreciate the value of the river being right here,” says Jerry Kabat, who with his wife owns and operates Frankenmuth Fun Ships.
The Kabats draw bachelorette parties, business groups and tourists with their electric boat tours. There’s wine tasting on board with 20 varieties from the Mount Morris-based Wolcott Winery and 40 types of chocolates handmade in the shop’s kitchen by Mary Farnham.
Tucked behind their yellow building at 445 S. Main is a two-story deck that leads passengers down to the boats and rental aqua cycles. Customers not keen on boat rides can enjoy chocolate and wine in the recently completed Riverview Wine Garten.
“People think we’re just a little store here, but we are a part of the overall Frankenmuth experience,” Kabat said. “There might be bigger players in town, but there’s not one business that makes it Frankenmuth.”
Fun Ships has been open since 2009, but the Kabats have been entertaining Frankenmuth visitors since the 1980s, owning one of the town’s first horse and carriage businesses, as well as the Riverview Queen, a 60-passenger river paddle boat. The couple turned to activity-related tourism after Jerry Kabat put in more than two decades as a vocational job placement counselor.