2022 Portage Lakes Boat Parade kicks off this year, organizers say

The annual Portage Lakes Boat Parade will resume this year after a two-year pandemic hiatus, organizers announced Friday.

A Cleveland Cavaliers-themed boat with a boarding craft participates in the 2016 Portage Lakes Boat Parade.

The July 9 event was at risk of being canceled in part due to confusion over its status. But parade fans formed a committee to organize the event and registrations have now exceeded the minimum of 10, said committee member Michael Boyle. Friday afternoon, 12 boats were on board.

“Having had a late start, people weren’t sure it was going to happen,” he said in a phone interview on Friday. “…(But) we know the parade is definitely happening at this point.”

As of Memorial Day weekend, he said, the parade was stalled due to a lack of volunteers to plan it.

But Boyle and other local residents who wanted the boat parade to go again formed the committee to organize it and solicit entries. The couple who own and operate Shriner Marine on Turkeyfoot Lake Road have taken the lead, handling boat owner bookings.

“Andy and Danielle Shriner, they stepped up to help coordinate it and move it forward,” Boyle said.

A map shows the route of the 2022 Portage Lakes Boat Parade.

Dani Lenarz-Lamer, another committee member, said when she inquired about the event earlier this year, she was surprised it was not on the Association’s agenda. Portage Lakes fireworks.

The organization plans the annual Lakes Fireworks Show, but hadn’t planned for the Parade of Boats, which takes place during the day and leads to the nighttime fireworks.

“How come they don’t have it this year?” Lenarz-Lamer said when she found out. “This year, I thought we would be operational. (But) it wasn’t.

Lenarz-Lamer said his family watched the parade for years before competing in 2019. Thousands of Portage Lakes residents and visitors traveled to view the procession from different locations along the parade route. , many staying in the night for the fireworks. display, says Boyle.

A sandcastle-building competition held between the parade and the fireworks will not take place this year.

History of the Portage Lakes Boat Parade

The Portage Lakes Boat Parade dates back to 1976, when it was held to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial, Boyle said. Similar, less formal events had taken place before.

After the 1976 event, however, it took place every year until the coronavirus pandemic, when permits and authorizations could not be obtained.

Katy Boyle exits her Apollo 11 themed boat after the 2019 Boat Parade at Portage Lakes State Park.

“We couldn’t get the permits,” said Danielle Shriver. “This is the first year (since COVID-19) that we can have an official one.”

Boyle said the Shriners got clearance from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office Boat Patrol set up the judging format and agreed to handle entry to the event.

WrestleMania III, rockets and ‘Thriller’ on the water

This year, Boyle said, there is no planned theme like there has been in some previous boat parades.

“In 2015, the theme was ‘The 1980s,'” he said. “My group did WrestleMania III. There was a ‘Thriller’ boat.

In 2019, Boyle’s team built a replica of the Apollo 11 rocket in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. The tank won second place, with a “Toy Story” design in first place.

Stephanie Summers, 10, from Suffield Township, waves astride the horse dummy on her grandparents' Wild West-themed boat in 1998.

Boyle and his friend, Green resident Matt Maier, finished twice first and four times second in the competition. Boyle said his children, Grace, 9, and Will, 7, were excited to help design his boat this year.

While winning entries can be elaborate presentations, Boyle said parade newcomers shouldn’t walk away if they don’t have time to build a model rocket or a movie set.

“People think, ‘I have to work on this for weeks,'” Boyle said. “But have three or four people decorate in the morning and you’ll have a fun boat and people will enjoy seeing it.”

Boyle is keeping this year’s exhibit a secret, but Lenarz-Lamer says his boat will have an ’80s theme, with nods to MTV, Rubik’s Cube, and music and clothing from that era. .

“Anything from the 80s,” she said. “We’ll all be dressed in 80s clothes.”

Over the years, a tradition of tossing treats to children on the shore has developed, and Lenarz-Lamer expects this to continue.

“Most boat owners throw candy,” she said. “Some owners will throw (toy discs) at the kids. The kids are thrilled and they’re expecting it.”

A boat on the theme of

“It’s an experience”

Boyle said Frank Weaver Jr., one of the original founders of the event, will be the grand marshal, leading the procession over a pontoon.

The parade begins at 1 p.m. at the old Kieffer Marine at the north end of East Reservoir, winding through East and West Reservoirs, Turkeyfoot Lake, and Rex Lake before ending around 3:30 p.m. at State Park of Portage Lakes.

Boyle said the popularity and size of the parade has varied over the years, but participants and spectators always seem to enjoy it. He estimates that thousands of people are watching the boats at various points along the route.

“They say there are about 2,000 houses on the lake and the parade goes past about two-thirds of those houses,” he said. “Thousands of people watch it in a normal year.”

Lenarz-Lamer said the boat parade and fireworks display make it a family day.

“It’s an experience you have to have at least once,” she says.

Leave a message for Alan Ashworth at 330-996-3859 or email him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @newsalanbeaconj.

Keep the Boat Parade afloat

• Want to participate? Boats can be registered for the 2022 Portage Lakes Boat Parade at Shriner Marine, 533 W. Turkeyfoot Lake Road, New Franklin. Contact Andy Shriner at 330-400-4470 for more information.

• Want to contribute to the post-parade fireworks display? Go to https://plfa.net/.

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