During the 2016 election and beyond, Donald Trump energized his supporters in all types of venues around the country. Overflowing crowds have become a staple of any Trump event as he invigorated those that come out to hear him speak at various occasions around the nation.
On Saturday, just the thought of being able to show one’s support for the man who has inhabited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for just shy of 4 years was all they needed. “This turnout was unprecedent, and so well organized and exceeded everyone’s initial estimates,” said Litha Berger, a longtime member of the South Collier Republican Club and a resident of Marco Island.
The Collier County event itself began in Naples Bay and proceed southerly through the Intracoastal Waterway. When boaters intersected the Marco River, they then made a turn to the east and followed the river to the Judge Jolly Bridge. Similar flotillas were held at the same time all around the state of Florida.
As the seemingly solid line of boating enthusiasts approached the Marco River, they knew they were in “Trump Country,” as a large Trump 2020 banner hung from the balcony of the home of Don and Kim Mitchell on the Isle of Capri. Kim Mitchel serves as the President of the Republican Club of South Collier County.
The Mitchell’s played host for fellow Republicans who wished to view the flotilla of avid Trump supporters at their home at Dolphin Point. Later in the evening, the Ben Allen Band entertained their guests as they continued to celebrate their candidate and prepare for the 2020 election.
Organizers near the Naples Docks estimated approximately 575 boats at the beginning of the parade, and they were met by approximately 175 boaters who joined in the fun near the intersection of the Marco River and the Intracoastal way near the Michell’s home.
Part-time residents Larry and Pam Ahern were equally surprised at the strong showing. “We live in Chicago and we dye the river green for St. Patrick’s Day, but today we saw the Marco River turn red-white-blue. It was simply amazing” said Larry Ahern when interviewed after the event.
Ray Seward, another Marco resident also voiced his amazement at the turnout. He had made his way to the event on his 32-foot dive boat with his wife Candy and their neighbors and friends. “We got here early and certainly weren’t disappointed. America was truly on display here today. The American flag was everywhere you looked, and it made you enormously proud,” said Seward.
Public safety personnel worked to keep the activity on the water very calm. There was one small incident in the Marco River where a wake had swamped a small boat. Marco Councilman Howard Reed witnessed that incident. “The emergency services personnel were right on top of it and assisted a couple and their dog onto the emergency boats as they worked together with one of the support boats to secure the small craft,” Reed stated.
A quick squall ran through the area, but never dampened the spirits of those in attendance.