Boat parade sets holiday atmosphere
SUN PHOTO/CINDY LANE
Outahere, above, with Captain Laura Nelson aboard,
won the grand prize of $500 for best overall display.
Sparkling boats gracefully shimmered up the Intracoastal Waterway on Saturday night, sprinkling Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island with the Christmas spirit during the Eighth Annual Cortez Yacht Club Holiday Lighted Boat Parade.
The 26 boats decked their halls for the contest, which began on Longboat Key at Mar Vista and Moore's restaurants, whose outdoor dining rooms were packed for the event. They glided past Coquina Bayside Park, where spectators waved from the dock, and entertained shoppers at the Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach, who broke away from the Bridge Street Merchants' Christmas celebration to see the show.
The first place Anna Maria Island Sun award of $500 for best overall display went to Capt. Laura Nelson, of St. Petersburg, aboard the 38-foot trawler, Outta Here.
Gary Mink, of Bradenton, aboard the 34-foot power boat, Kinja Rules, took home $150 for best in the Santa class.
Art Waldron, of Sarasota, and the 33-foot power boat, Diggin' Deep, won $150 for best in the Unique class.
Harold Levintry, of Bradenton, on the 33-foot power boat, The Pelican, won $150 for best in the Most Effort class.
Dave and Carline Ash aboard the 37-foot sailboat, Peacemaker, won the $50 honorable mention prize for their dancing and singing in unison.
Awards were presented at the parade terminus, the Seafood Shack Marina Grill in Cortez.
The event was organized by the Cortez Yacht Club and sponsored by The Anna Maria Island Sun and the Bridge Street Merchants Association.