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Boat parades canceled

NOV. 21 — What would have been the 25th annual Chain of Lakes Boat Parade in Winter Haven, Fla., in December has been canceled due to low water levels; particularly in the canals the boats would use to go from one lake to the next, according to a report in The Ledger.

Though some wishful thinkers suggested the parade should go on, hauling the boats on trailers through the streets and around the water, with owners inside the boats throwing candy to kids, “It just isn’t safe,” said Bob Gernert, executive director to the local Chamber of Commerce, in the report.

The current depth of the waterways is 129 feet above sea level as of Monday, which is six inches lower than what could handle an event like this, states the report.

The parade also experienced low water levels in 2002 but went ahead anyway; and even then, some boats ran aground in the canals.

Gernert said because of the congested traffic from the holiday season and the popularity of the parade, lots of cars would have to park off the side of the road and the number of police officers on duty beefed up. Rather than seeing a child hurt, he told The Ledger, he’d rather be a spoilsport.

Residents of Boca Raton will also not be having their 32nd Holiday Boat Parade, but for a very different reason. Fallen victim to state-mandated budget cuts, the private sector failed to pick up the tab for the show this year, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Although Marine Industries reportedly donated $10,000 a year to the parade, it was unable to continue this year without the city’s support, according to the report.

Local police estimated up to 10,000 people annually watched the parade, cramming Silver Palm and Red Reef parks.

— Elizabeth Ellis