A procession of 17 boats of all shapes and
sizes glitters and glides down the Intracoastal
Waterway Saturday night as part of the Cortez
Yacht Club's 7th Annual Holiday Lighted
Boat Parade. SUN PHOTO/CINDY LANE
All was calm.
All was bright.
Seventeen boats wearing their holiday best twinkled along the glassy Intracoastal Waterway on Saturday night like a brand new string of Christmas lights during the Cortez Yacht Club's 7th Annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade.
All-day showers stopped in time for the show, leaving a pink twilight sky lingering on the horizon and a cool nip in the air, just right for the lighted penguin sailboarding on the bow of Holmes Beach resident Laura Ritter's boat.
Randy Stewart, of Lil' Toot charters in Cortez, filled the role of Rudolph as lead boat with the brightest lights of all, as the parade went gently down the channel, passing by the Bridge Street Pier on its way to the Seafood Shack in Cortez. Stewart also helped keep everyone safe by staying in constant radio contact with all the boats, pointing out channel markers and navigational hazards along the way.
Icicles, angels, Santas, Christmas trees and wreaths drifted by, with The Floating Chapel on the Bay bringing up the rear, then taking a shortcut around Jewfish Key, peeking around its northern tip before meeting up with the parade off Bradenton Beach.
Lil' Toot, a 28-foot power boat piloted by Stewart, won the trophy for Happiest Boat. Peter Robinson, of Holmes Beach, won the trophy for Best Theme with his 22-foot sailboat Nellie, and Jason and Cassandra Roznos of Bradenton won the trophy for Best Lit with their 32-foot sailboat Noanker.
The $500 grand prize, courtesy of the Bridge Street Merchants Association of Bradenton Beach, went to Pat and Kyle Roberts of Bradenton with Spring Fever, a 34-foot sailboat.
Honorable mentions went to Patrick and Shawna Francis, of Bradenton for Best Party Boat, Gary and Deb Mink of Bradenton for Best Effort and Kent Weber of Cortez for Live Performance.
The parade was sponsored by the Bridge Street Merchants Association and the Anna Maria Island Sun.