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Parade of lights planned for Seneca River

Boats are pictured during the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade in Tempe, Arizona.

Boats are pictured during the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade in Tempe, Arizona.

— 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.”

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