Marco Islanders spent the day wondering whether or not the annual Christmas Boat Parade would be canceled due to inclement weather or not. Other parades such as Cape Coral had been due to winds and rain throughout the day. The weather would cooperate, and in the end, islanders were treated to one of the best on the water displays of holiday lighting they had ever seen.
Under the careful watch of safety personnel both on and off the water, the boats would follow the Marco Island Princess on its route which would take it to the Judge Jolly Bridge and glide past the Marco Island Yacht Club as the procession proceeded back westerly, hugging the shoreline of the Marco River and into Factory Bay and along the shoreline and past the judges stands at the Snook Inn and into Collier Creek. From there, they continued to the Esplanade which was packed with anxious parade watchers.
The parade was one of the largest for the island, hosting 24 boats of various sizes and designs. “The entries were all outstanding,” said Wanda Burson, whose husband was coordinating the event from one of the Marco Island Police boats.
Barbra Dasti, who assisted Burson at the judge’s stands, agreed with Burson. “These boats were so beautiful this year. The judges really had a tough time narrowing the field of winners.”
The parade itself had a short delay at the outset as the high lines near the Jolly Bridge arched as one of the boats passed under, but it proceeded without incident.
Winners by category were as follows:
- Euphoria: Mike and Kathy Rushalk
- Moonbeam: Ken and Lil Bardon
POWER BOATS 30 Feet or Less
- Sophie’s Dinghy: Alexander Dubicki
- No Worries: Rob Reiley
Best Holiday Spirit (Tie)
- Papa’s Play Pen: Bob Cholka
- Wet Bar: Joe Richards
POWER BOATS 31 Feet or More
- NorTech Tim Callahan
- Karine: Sandy LaMontagne/Rudy Landward
Best Holiday Spirit
- Mutual Fund IV: Peter Procopio
Best Overall in Parade
- Euphoria: Mike and Kath Rushalk