In the almost 20 years since we moved to the Isles of Capri, there have been boat parades with good-hearted crews, creative ideas, caroling and some “carousing” along the way; which makes for a great parade. In the past, the Isles sometimes joined with the Marco Island Boat Parade and sometimes they were separate parades on the same night. With renewed interest and participation in this event, and more spirited members of the Isles community, this year’s effort was the pinnacle of Christmas parades!
With a whopping 23 boats participating, the most EVER I’m told, there was serious preparation and planning that went into each entry as you can see from the photos. Numbers that designated the order of the boats were assigned and there was a staging area in the bay beside the Island Gypsy. Each captain skillfully maneuvered his/her boat through the bevy of barges and vessels gathering before the parade to find their niche.
One couldn’t help but notice the beverages and food bounty that were plentiful on the entries; you could say that not only the boats had fuel. By the time the captains were lined up, the judges had spread out over the Isles to perform their observations and rigorous research. The biggest challenge was to determine which crew was having the most fun! Completed judging forms were submitted to Boone and Crocket at the conclusion of the parade so that each entry could be fairly considered, even though some of the judges had never judged a boat parade in any of their prior histories!
Some of the judges were on land, some were in boats and some were up in the air on top of a boat house thanks to the generosity of Beth and Scott Keyes, and close to the amazing fireworks that Don Podany strategically sets off in celebration of each annual boat parade and the Fourth of July. He’s a multi-year professional in the fireworks field, so there were no burning palm trees ever in any field on his watch. I understand, because of his experience, he always takes precautions, and as a result, his fireworks delight the Isles community’s children and children-at-heart, except for some of our four-footed friends who are sensitive to loud noises.
Back to the parade. The starting point of the parade was at the Island Gypsy and the finale was at Pelican Bend and the Capri Fish House. Beverages, laughter and comments ensued as the results were tabulated. After intense deliberation and tabulation, good-hearted cheers erupted from the far expanses of the universe as each of the top four participating boat captains were announced.
Beau Middlebrook came in with First Place. Erick Mikula earned Second Place. Third Place went to Michael Kochis, and Fourth Place was received by Buddy Tomei.
The other boats were also impressive, and the great thing is that all participants were eligible for prizes based on their participation in the event. Monetary donations were received from community members and businesses which enabled a cash bonus back to the captains based on an impartial drawing of boat numbers. Captains could have kept their cash for fuel, but many generously decided to donate their winnings back to the Capri Civic Inc. for future needs and events.
Special thanks to the Boat Parade Committee Matt Crowder, Mike Cox and Chuck Tabling, who planned this event and made it special for all the participants and spectators. It’s the hard work and preparation behind the scenes that makes Isles events so much fun. Thanks also to the Island Gypsy, Pelican Bend and the Capri Fish House for hosting the boat parade events.
Judges for the event in ABC order included Scott Allen, Ed Caster, Mike Cooper, Dennis and Mona Fagan, Dawn Monteleone, John Wegerski and Paul Westberry.
All in all, lots of fun with even more upcoming events on the Isles agenda are coming up including the December 13th Christmas Extravaganza for the Isles children, the Holiday Party at the Island Gypsy on the 14th and the Golf Cart Parade on December 24th, which promises to be one of the best events of this holiday season. Judging by the interest in past years, this year’s parade will be even bigger and better in 2019.