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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Holiday lighted boat parade, fireworks Dec. 6

Boaters are sought to join the 16th annual Islander Holiday Boat Parade Dec. 6.

The Islander is again organizing the event for its second year, reaching out to skippers from all areas to expand the parade spectacle and the prelude of fireworks.

Skippers are encouraged to get their craft into the lineup early for what could be the largest-ever lighted boat parade on Anna Maria waters.

Cash prizes and trophies for best lighted boats in various size categories of power boats and sailboats, a business-sponsor division and a class for "working" boats will be offered by the newspaper and its event sponsors.

The parade this year will begin from two locations at 6 p.m. One parade contingent will gather in Bimini Bay as in years past, motor to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, back to the Key Royale Bridge, then north along the shore to the Rod & Reel Pier and back to the Anna Maria City Pier.

A second (southern) contingent of boats will gather in the Intracoastal Waterway near the Bradenton Beach City Pier on the south side of the Cortez Bridge, traversing north (throught the bridge at 6 p.m.) to join up with boaters at the Seafood Shack marina and follow the Intracoastal to the Anna Maria Bridge. It will then continue along the bayfront, passing Kingfish Boat Ramp, the Anna Maria Elementary School, Westbay Point & Moorings, and onward along the bayfront of Key Royale to meet up with the Bimini Bay bunch at the pass at Bimini Bay.

The Bimini Bay and southern parade boats will be led by members of the local Coast Guard Flotilla and law enforcement agencies.

Then it's onward for all the lighted boats to the Anna Maria City Pier, the Rod & Reel Pier and a loop back to the city pier for the finale.

Deep-draft boats which may not be able to traverse the shoreline route from Kingfish to the mouth of Bimini Bay are welcome to join by utilizing the Intracoastal to meet the parade at the Anna Maria City Pier.

Boaters and spectators are invited to the city pier where the parade judges will await the entries, although numerous opportunities exist along the parade routes for viewing the lighted boats.

The climax of the event will again be Jim Taylor's Taylor-Made Pyrotechnical Entertainment fireworks display at approximately 7:30 p.m. in the bay alongside the city pier.

Entry forms are provided in this issue of The Islander and at the newspaper office for skippers' convenience.

A captain's meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

The parade hotline for more information is 778-7978.