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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Lighted Boat Parade sparkles, firewarks spark Saturday evening

Captain's meeting: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, at The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

Fireworks alongside the Anna Maria City Pier, approximately 7:30 p.m.

Boats of all sizes and descriptions, all decorated and lighted for the holidays, will pass in review for Islanders Saturday evening in the annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade.

There are any number of good viewing spots along the parade's route, but some of the places more favored by viewers in the past include Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Kay Royale Bridge, Anna Maria City Pier and Rod & Reel Pier.

This year a group of boats is expected to depart from the Bradenton Beach City Pier, join boats at the Seafood Shack, and traverse the Intracoastal Waterway. Viewing spots will include the pier, Kingfish Boat Ramp, Anna Maria Elementary School, Westbay Point & Moorings and bayfront homes of Key Royale.

More lighted boats are welcome and can be registered at The Islander until Saturday afternoon.

The Islander-sponsored parade will start in two places at 6 p.m. – in Bimini Bay, and south of the Cortez Bridge near the Bradenton Beach City Pier.

The Bimini boats will promenade to Gloria Dei on the Grand Canal, back to the Key Royale Bridge, through Bimini Bay to await the southern contingent, and then north to the Rod & Reel Pier and back to the Anna Maria City Pier.

The boats assembled off Bradenton Beach will pass through the bridge’s 6 p.m. opening to make the 6:20 p.m. opening at the Anna Maria Bridge. Then they will utilize the channels that hug the bayfront from St. Bernard Catholic Church to the north end of Key Royale to meet the other lighted boats at Bimini Bay Pass.

From then on, the whole fleet, ablaze with lights and other yuletide decorations, will cruise to the Anna Maria City Pier, Rod & Reel, and back to the city pier for the climactic fireworks.

Judges will view the boats as they cruise past the Anna Maria City Pier. Cash prizes and trophies for entries will be selected for the best lighted boats in various categories of power and sail, a business-sponsor division, and workboats.

Jim Taylor and his Taylor-Made Pyrotechnical Entertainment will touch off the climactic fireworks display alongside the city pier at approximately 7:30 p.m.

A captains’ meeting is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, at The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. For information on the parade, call 778-7978.