The 15th Annual River Lights Boat Parade that took place on the Pithlachascotee River in Sims Park on Saturday evening, will go down in the annals of history as being the very best one yet. There were so many firsts: first time paddlers and boaters; youngest captains (14 year old Noah Smith, according to his dad, ‘is a great captain!), longest boats that included a 40+’ Hawaiian outrigger, and faithful diehards including the Miss Daisy who has not missed one of the parades since it first began! All in all, a great night with the weather mostly cooperating , until a sea mist rolled off the Gulf just as the last boat slid past the judges stand. Great timing! A special thank you went out to the Co-Chairs, Steve Hunter and to Chris Caforo, to whom this year’s parade was dedicated. Chris’ untimely passing was a hard hit for everyone, and he was sorely missed and referred to many times in the comments made by the paddlers and boat captains as well as in the heartfelf thanks expressed by Steve Schurdell, managing partner for HITS 106 radio and the riverside Emcee for the evening. The two-First place winners will be included in the 38th annual Holiday Rotary Christmas Street parade this Saturday, December 13. A total of over 45 entrants made it tough for the three judges who had to pick the top three from each category, Kayaks and Boats.
In the Kayak division the top three winners were:
3rd place: Captain Karl Vogel: EFO Extra Fast Outrigger entry #1;
2nd Place: Captain Paula York (boats unnamed) entry #8
1st Place: Captain Natalie Earley: Candy Kayaker entry #5
In the Boat division the top three winners were:
3rd Place: Captain Ryan Hayden: Toon Time entry #36
2nd Place: Captain Bob Ogg: Eat, Drink and ReMarry, entry #32
First Place : Captains John & Traci Frank “It’s All Good” entry #30.
An Honorable Mention went to Captain James Galioto “Catches and Rum Runner Jeep Cruiser” entry #27.
The Main Street Holidays event activities continue December 12 and 13th in Sims Park starting at 6pm on Friday evening with the Genesis School performance and chorus, immediatley followed by a Holiday movie. Saturday morning from 9am to 11am will find “Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus”, this year sponsored by BB&T Bank. Folks can enjoy breakfast, and the first 100 children will receive a free gift courtesy of the Rough Riders of Tampa Bay. Walgreens will be on site and are offering a picture package for $5.30 that will include 1-8×10, 2-5×7 and 4-4×6’s.
At 11am until 1pm the Celebrity Read2ME returns with “The Fit Phantom’ mascot of the NPR City Recreation and Aquatic park; Sesame Street character “Abby Cadabby” and “Rufus” courtesy of Farrell Roofing, and “Clifford the Big Red Dog” courtesy of Stop ‘n Play. Celebrity readers will include DeeEtta from Jimmy Ferraro’s Studio theatre who will perform “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.
Make and Take Crafts hosted by the NPR City Library will be from 1 pm to 3pm; live music, pony rides, petting zoo and bounce houses, Bungee Jump, river cruises aboard the Miss Daisy and new this year, the Verizon PowerHouse, the interactive and exciting multi-media experience will be on site both Friday and Saturday. Festival food vendors, Arts and Crafters and Commercial vendors rounds out the event wrapping up with the 38th Holiday Rotary Christmas Street parade that winds its way north on Grand Boulevard from Gulf Drive, up and around Orange Lake and out to US Hwy 19. A perfect blend of outdoor activity and family friendly entertainment is the perfect respite for the busy holiday season. Visit the website nprmainstreet.com <http://nprmainstreet.com> and Facebook page GREATER NEW PORT RICHEY MAIN STREET for specific times and more information.