On Saturday night, Roger’s Park and Bayport Pier was filled to the max with anticipated residents of Hernando County awaiting to view some decked out Christmas boats for the 30th annual Weeki Wachee River Christmas Boat Parade.
Parking was quite a challenge as well as viewing the boats, which unfortunately left many discouraged. I would like to send out a huge “Thank You” to Scott and Kristy Stoker on Tropical Drive for opening their home to me so I was able to capture a couple of photos of this event.
The Stoker home was filled with decorative lights, plentiful food, merry drinks and a comfortable fire pit surrounded by family and friends as they all viewed and cheered on the passing boats from their back deck. “This is our fifth Boat Parade we have seen,” Stoker said. The neighbors were in spirit as well with their own decorations and cheers.
James Lanier Jr. who runs the Marina with his father, explained how the parade came to be. “My [mother’s neighbor] Mrs. Jones had a sick grandchild and she wanted to do something special for him. They put a boat together [decorated for Christmas] and we put a boat together and that’s how it caught on.”
For thirty years the Lanier family and other volunteers have coordinated this event. The eighteen boaters that participated Saturday night made Rogers Park and the winding canals to Bayport Pier a sight to see as well as extra Christmas happiness for those at the Dawn Center. “It’s for a good cause, all the proceeds and donations go towards the Dawn Center and when you see all the (boats) stretched out and all lit up at the Bay Port Pier, it’s a very cool thing” Lanier Jr. said.
Hopefully, logistics will be solved for next year's parade, so more onlookers can enjoy the festivities.
For more information about Weeki Wachee Marina visit their website: http://weekiwacheemarina.com/
Weeki Wachee Marina
7154 Shoal Line Blvd
Weeki Wachee, FL 34607