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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Lighted boat parade: still time

There are still a few days to get your boat into the 2003 Holiday Lighted Boat Parade - and better than a week after that to get your nautical decorations in shape.

Deadline for registering for the parade is Friday, Nov. 28, and the parade itself is the evening of Saturday, Dec. 6. Entry forms are printed elsewhere in The Islander and also are available at the newspaper office.

The big event is not limited to Island boats, but is open to craft from anywhere and everywhere. Cash prizes and trophies will go to best lighted boats in various categories of sailboats and power, a business-sponsored division, and workboats.

The start will be double-pronged, both starting at 6 p.m.

Boats for the northern fleet will gather in Bimini Bay as in years past, motor down the canal to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, then to the Key Royale Bridge, north along the shore to the Rod & Reel Pier and back to Anna Maria City Pier.

The southern staging area will be in the Intracoastal Waterway on the south side of Cortez Bridge near the Bradenton Beach City Pier, pass through the drawbridge and join other boaters at the Seafood Shack marina. From there it's up the ICW to the Anna Maria Bridge and along the bayfront off Kingfish Boat Ramp, Anna Maria Elementary School and along the Key Royale bayfront to meet the Bimini contingent at the pass at Bimini Bay.

The massed fleet will parade then to the Anna Maria City Pier, Rod & Reel Pier and back to the city pier for the fireworks spectacular.

That big show will be provided again this year by Jim Taylor and his Taylor-Made Pyrotechnical Entertainment about 7:30 p.m. over the bay alongside the pier.

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

The parade hotline for information is 778-7978.