Aug 23, 2012 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
You’ve heard about Lights on the Lake. Now prepare for lights on the river, literally.
In conjunction with Baldwinsville’s Oktoberfest, the Baldwinsville Optimist Club, Chamber of Commerce and Oktoberfest Committee have organized a Boat Parade of Lights fundraiser to be held after sunset on Saturday, Sept. 15.
“This is something that everyone enjoys,” said Optimist Gene Hearl, who is co-chairing the event with the help of Tony Saraceni. “And it’s for the benefit of children,” he said, adding all proceeds from the event will be distributed to community youth organizations.
According to Hearl, the idea came to fruition when discussing Baldwinsville’s Blessing of the Fleet, which had been a staple chamber event in Baldwinsville for decades. Traditionally held in conjunction with the Kiwanis Fishing Derby in June, the chamber decided to change things up this year and adopt an idea that is popular across the country – an evening boat parade complete with lights and decorations.
Boats entering the parade can enjoy the festivities of the Oktoberfest and people on the shore can enjoy viewing the boats as they cruise along the shoreline.
Decorated boats will begin at Papermill Island after sunset and proceed through Lock 24 down the Erie Canal toward Phoenix. Some boats will start at Onondaga Lake Marina and merge into the parade.
Organizers encourage businesses, clubs, events, organizations and private individuals to get involved and enter a themed boat to promote themselves as there will be many spectators along the shoreline viewing the parade.
“This is a fun and enjoyable way to promote a business or event with a decorated boat,” Hearl said, fondly recalling the boat parade that Pirate’s Cove Marina in Clay used to put on up until five years ago. “All of us shore liners enjoyed the boat parade and it is something that we’ve missed since.”
Hearl said he would invite family and friends over to his home on the river and they would watch all the decorated boats go by while hosting fires and cookouts. “Over the years, everyone has put up lights, fires and more on shore. It’s a nice site to look at as boats come through,” he said.
Organizers said people along the shoreline can get involved by having shoreline parties to support the fundraiser. Hosts of these parties are those who are located on the water and offer a clear view of the parade as it moves along the waterways. In fact, the boat parade concept has expanded as shoreline party hosts are asked to be active participants in the parade by passing out standout boat forms to shoreline party guests. Spectators are asked to vote on their favorite boat, most creative boat and most original boat. Organizers ask shoreline party hosts to register for the event (baldwinsvilleoptimistclub.org) for a $10 donation.
For those without a boat but a need to float, Mid-Lakes Navigation is offering a cruise that is open to the public during the boat parade. Seating is limited; contact Mid-Lakes Navigation at 685-8500 or midlakenav.com.
Hearl said boats travel at approximately five miles per hour, so if you’re starting at Paper Mill Island in Baldwinsville, anticipate a two-hour trip to the parade’s end, and those beginning at Onondaga Lake Marina can expect a one-hour trip.
Boats must register two weeks prior to the event; cost is $25 per boat. Registration applications for boats and shoreline parties and additional information are available online at b-ville.com and baldwinsvilleoptimistclub.org.
Hearl added one more thing: “If you’re reading this article, pass it on to a boater,” he said.