Many years ago, Parade founder Tom Little started a tradition that has been continued.
A post Parade e-mail to the Boaters, with the title AFTERGLOW.
This year’s AFTERGLOW will be very different from those written by Tom, or those from me.
You see, all of those AFTERGLOW messages talked about the Parade.
The 2019 AFTERGLOW will be mostly about the spectators.
We’ve had windy Parades, cold Parades, cold AND windy Parades and even brief drizzle Parades.
Never have we had a Parade as we did in 2019.
With an improving forecast, decreasing winds and a likely rain chance of 20%, the Committee was confident that the weather would be on our side.
With the clouds moving in, and a 4 PM drizzle turning into a steady downpour…… we began to discuss options.
Current weather radar showed some very big changes.
We have many “open” boats offering little protection to crews. Even with wipers, peering through a wet windshield, in the dark presents all sorts of issues.
In baseball, they call the game on account of rain.
I announced on the VHF that the Parade would go on as scheduled for those who chose to participate, however, each captain had to make the best decision for the safety, comfort and well-being of his crew.
With the rain now steadily pouring down, it was clear I could not safely put the angel & trumpet out on the bow of the lead boat JOY to announce the Parade, as is our custom.
No trumpet fanfares would be announcing “THE PARADE IS COMING”
I removed the loudspeakers and amplifier from my boat. The equipment cannot withstand this kind of weather.
Fed my guests, and law enforcement.
Rather than subject my crew to what I expected would be less than a handful of boats playing to empty lots, lanai parties with empty docks, and people peering out of the windows, we decided the best option was for them to depart, and I would run the Parade route as planned, solo, along with any other boat so inclined.
This Parade would be a few cast members in the show, playing to an empty house, along with a tiny audience siting in the back row.
As I left the dock, way up around the bend, and pulled into Santas’ Cove I was surprised to see a unexpectedly large lighted fleet, assembled and ready to go.
But wait, what’s this?
Vacant lots full of spectators?
Some in cars, pulled to the seawall, some in raincoats, umbrellas?
I never saw so many umbrellas in one place in my life!
Some people brought canopy tents.
CANOPY TENTS ???
You’ve got to be kidding!
RV’s with awnings extended and crowds of spectators huddled underneath?
Some folks simply standing out in the rain.
Several wearing trashbags with a hole cut for their head.
OH MY !
Folks on the lanais came out to the dock to be close to the Parade and to cheer.
IN THE RAIN !
One well dressed man, wearing a sportcoat, no jacket, no umbrella, no nothing – clapping for us.
While those holding umbrellas were unable to offer applause, the cheers went up, the sleigh bells and tambourines did ring, and the shouts of MERRY CHRISTMAS were exchanged.
With no trumpet music, and no crew chatter, I could hear old voices, young voices and the voices of children shouting MERRY CHRISTMAS while they stood in the rain.
Yes, STOOD. You see, there were no chairs, as those folding chairs set up pre-parade wer soaked. This crowd had on choice but to stand.
Most impressive were the shouts of THANK YOU.
Throughout the Parade, the rain slowed a bit, but never stopped.
The cold, wet, spectators never stopped cheering.
There was little silence on this Parade route.
You may recall the Grinch.
He tried to stop Christmas from coming, but despite his great effort, the Whos down in Whoville had Christmas all the same.
Last nights event makes me so very happy and proud of our community’s spirit, and fortunate to be the custodian of this event, unlike any other Christmas boat parade …..ANYWHERE.
Of the Boaters who did, in fact, put on a wonderful show, and our audience;
The cold, wet cheering folks, out in the rain, shouting MERRY CHRISTMAS and THANK YOU to all of us putting on this show.
THANK YOU for being a part of this extraordinary community event.
MERRY CHRISTMAS !
THE SATURDAY NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE BOAT PARADE