When I first moved to Florida, I met a woman named Louise. She lived in the condo I worked at on Marco Island; she was my first friend. Louise was 78 and lived alone. She complained about stomach pain and the next thing we knew, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Avow Hospice came to her condo and took care of her until she passed. They were a godsend. I miss Louise and think about her and smile every day. She was so much fun! I even took her to see the Chippendale Dancers at the Seminole Immokalee Casino – no lie. Every February, I get the chance to thank Avow Hospice and celebrate Louise’s life by attending the Annual Mardi-Gras Goodland Boat Parade.
The 17th Annual Boat Parade will be held on February 16 at 2:00 PM in Goodland. The theme is Broadway Musicals. As always, all proceeds go to Avow Hospice of Naples and will be used to support the Marco Island Branch as it provides comfort and support to the terminally ill and their families, primarily in the home.
The whole island takes part in raising money for the cause. Raffles, 50/50s and t-shirt sales will be offered throughout the island. The restaurants in town – Stan’s, The Little Bar and the Old Marco Lodge – will have food specials and live music. If you choose to dine at any of these establishments, limited waterfront seating is available to view the parade.
To view the parade by boat, anchor as close to the mangroves as possible between the Goodland Bridge and red marker 10.
The best place to view the parade this year is at the Goodland Boat Park. Volunteers are planning a party at the park where there will be ample, free parking. Musician extraordinaire J. Robert will entertain with his fiddle starting at noon. Sandy and Jared’s famous “belly buster” hot dogs and chili dogs will be for sale along with chips and soda.
Bring chairs or a picnic blanket for viewing comfort.
Or better yet, be a part of the parade! After all, you can’t have a parade to celebrate Avow Hospice without any boats. As noted, the theme is Broadway Musicals. Think Cats, Les Miserable, Dream Girls, The Lion King, Chicago, Mary Poppins, RENT, Oklahoma!, Wicked, Hair, Hairspray, Annie, Grease, Singin’ in the Rain, All That Jazz, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Cabaret, My Fair Lady, The Wiz, Little Shop of Horrors, Damn Yankees!, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia!, Avenue Q, The Producers, Jersey Boys, South Pacific, Aida, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Spamelot, Evita, The King and I or Guys and Dolls.
Now, to register: Call Elaine Ritchie at 239-642-8356 or visit www.mardigrasgoodland.com. That’s it. Extravagance is NOT required and boats of all sizes and shapes are welcome. The only rule is TO HAVE FUN!
Last year’s parade raised $17,000. It’s always nice to break a record – especially for a good cause. Help us make that happen here in Goodland as we celebrate the lives of those who have been touched by Avow Hospice.[email_link]