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Nov. 18, 2019
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Registration open for Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

By Pamela A. Keene
 
With a goal of making this year’s Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on December 14 the biggest yet, organizer Richard Pickering challenges participants to step up their game.
 
“We’re changing things up a bit and asking our captains to solicit sponsorships for their boats, based on the number of lights they’ll be displaying on December 14, parade day,” Pickering said. “The parade will benefit two great organizations and we want everyone to come out and support the parade this year, so the biggest thing is to line up sponsors for your boat.”
 
The event’s nominating committee has chosen the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Home and the Hall County Marine Dive and Rescue Team as recipients of the parade funds. “Our goal is to raise $20,000 through entry fees and sponsors.” 
 
On the parade’s Facebook page, he gives an example of how the sponsorships can work:
“For instance, you might ask sponsors to pledge 10-cents apiece for each bulb on your boat to support these two charities. So if you have 2000 bulbs on your boat, that would be a $200 pledge from each sponsor that you get, which would be $100 for each organization.
 
“Then invite those sponsors to come down to Margaritaville to watch the boats come into the marina and join in on the fun. There will be great food and music to enjoy. And of course Santa will be there, plus we’ll have a raffle with all kinds of lake-related products and services and gift certificates to restaurants.”
 
Boats will be staged by marina, according to a schedule posted on Facebook, and will gather in the middle of the lake before parading into Margaritaville. Awards will given for the marina with the most boats, the marina with the most money raised and the Best-Decorated Boats by Class, for decoration, spirit and theme.
 
The parade is open to all boats, from sailboats and cruisers to houseboats and pontoons. “We hope people will really get into the spirit this year and start decorating their boats early,” he said. “We also have planned to have December 15 as the inclement weather date, so if the weather is bad on Saturday, you still have Sunday to show off your boat and holiday spirit.” 
 
Two charity recipients 
The Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes and the Hall County Sheriff’s Marine Rescue and Dive Team will receive the benefits of this year’s parade. For more information about the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes, visit www.georgiasheriffsyouth.org
 
The Hall County Sheriff’s Marine Rescue and Dive Team conducts underwater search and rescue on Lake Lanier, in Hall County and across Northeast Georgia. Typically called on to search for drowning victims, team members also assist in gathering evidence at crime scenes that involve bodies of water. Members must be PADI-certified Open Water Divers and many also hold advanced certifications. For more info about the team, visit www.hallcounty.org/410/Underwater-Search-Rescue
 
“The biggest thing is raising money for these two great organizations. To do that, we need more boats to participate so that we can raise more money. So this year, we are asking for each boat captain to get as many sponsors for their boats as they can.” 
 
“Donations can be made via check or cash and should be brought to the event so that we can tally the funds raised on the spot and share the results with everyone,” Pickering said. “Please bring two checks, one for each charity. We are also making arrangements to take credit/debit cards at the event.”
 
For additional details about the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, visit Facebook and search for 2019 Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. You may also email Pickering at holidayboatparade@gmail.com or visit www.lakelanierholidayboatparade.com.
 
Posted online 10/29/19
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