Area boaters prepare for Fourth of July parade
Published 9:45 am Thursday, June 30, 2016
Seafarers from the across the area have a chance to make Watauga Lake glisten with the patriotic colors Monday.
The 16th annual Watauga Lake Boat Parade gets underway during the Fourth of July at 2 p.m. with a laundry list of boats taking part in the multi-year tradition. Boaters will begin the event from Watauga Dam and move through Shook Branch, the Captain’s Table, Watauga Point, before ending the parade at the Butler Bridge.
Monday’s event is sponsored by each of the marinas through Watauga Lake, including Lakeshore, Mallard Cover, Fish Springs, and Cove Ridge.
Due to the renovations underway on Boone Lake, individuals taking to the waters for the holiday can expect a large fleet of ships.
“We’re expecting another big turnout for this year’s event,” Hailey Kinner, organizer of the event, said Wednesday. “All the local marinas come together to help put this event together.”
Kinner added that boats will be accepted until the start of the parade. Each boat will be judged prior to the parade, according to Kinner.
This year’s race offers five different categories, including:
* Best Decorated Houseboat – $300 worth of gas from Lakeshore.
* Best Decorated Cabin Cruiser – $200 worth of gas from Cove Ridge.
* Best Decorated Pontoon – $200 worth of gas from Fish Springs.
* Best Runabout Boat – $200 worth of gas from Mallard Cove.
* Best Decorated Sailboat – prize sponsored by Watauga Lake Sailing Club
Carl Ray Nidiffer, the owner of “The Entourage” boat will serve as the Grand Marshall for 2016’s parade after winning last year’s best in show competition for the houseboat division.
“This is great way to show what the community has to offer,” Kinner said. “It is also a great way to showcase the beauty of the outdoors on the Watauga.”
Lakeshore Marina also has music on the agenda before Monday’s event with live music from Ron Short and the Possum Playboys set to start at 7 p.m. on the overlook deck at the marina on Saturday, July 2.
Cove Ridge and Mallard Cove will also be staying busy over the weekend with their annual fireworks taking place on Saturday. Cove Ridge’s fireworks begin at 9 p.m. while Mallard Cove will follow up at 9:45 p.m.
Lakeshore wraps up the Fourth of July celebrations with the fireworks that will begin around sundown Monday.