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Organize A Boat Parade

By Lance Wolak

Boat parades are fun to prepare for and are very enjoyable for the participants as well as the parade watchers.  The first boat parade I participated in was in northern Michigan in 1997.  It was a long time tradition of the cottage owners to put on a boat parade, timed with their 4th of July week vacation.  Speed boats, pontoon boats, as well as personal watercrafts were decorated for this event.  It was a small lake, and the parade route took us completely around the entire lake.

In addition to the expected boat decorations in full red, white and blue, many of the participants dressed up in patriotic fashion.  Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty were the most memorable.  Patriotic music could be heard blasting from many of the boats.

As we drove around the lake, many people came out of their houses and on to their docks, with cameras and camcorders to film yet another great boat parade.

Since then we have built our lake house here at Lake Anna, Virginia.  In 2000, I shared my parade experience with several lake friends and we decided to start up a 4th of July boat parade.  I hope to see it continue for years to come.

Lake Anna is a man-made lake, about 17 miles long with many branches and coves which makes it ideal to plan a parade route past many homes and docks.

Boat parades truly bring out the best in people, incredible creativity, and will be talked about for a long time at get-togethers.

A Boat Parade For Your Lake

So my suggestion to you is to create a diversion from your normal boating routine. 

Organize a boat parade! 

Involve your family, friends, and meet new friends in the process.

Look to local traditions, celebrations, current or historical events to suggest a decorating theme for a boat parade.

Naturally, there are opportunities for patriotic parades on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

Planning Tips

  • Select a parade route

  • Determine the start time

  • Select a place to meet prior to the parade

  • Select a place to meet after the parade

  • Invite everyone you know!

  • Bring a camera - you will be surprised at the creativity in the decorations!



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