Holidays sail into the Cape
The holidays were officially in Cape Coral on Sunday night as the city hosted the 32nd Annual Holiday Boat-A-Long at Four Freedoms Park. The annual event draws in dozens of boats and thousands of residents to watch the city’s Christmas parade on Bimini Bay.
Cape Coral’s Park and Recreation Department assisted in organizing the event. Todd King, special events coordinator, said there were 95 boats scheduled to participate in the parade, but many more boats show up the night of the event.
“We usually hit around 80 to 100 boats, but we are hoping to push 100 boats this year,” said King.
Over the last six years Dave Drake has been the head organizer of the event. He took over from Edwina Hahn, the creator of the parade in 1976, who died in 2008.
“Edwina passed away this year and we are dedicating the 32nd annual ride in her honor,” said Drake.
Drake kicked off the parade on the lead boat named Thor’s Hammer which was piloted by Captain Tom Buckard.
Officials from Parks and Recreation estimated that 4,000 Cape Coral residents attended the holiday celebration at Four Freedoms, and thousands would be watching the parade along the canal.
“This is the 32nd year and the longest traditional event within Cape Coral,” said Steve Pohlman, director of Parks and Recreation.
Elected officials also attended the parade. Councilmember Dolores Bertolini and Mayor Jim Burch thanked the community for attending.
“These are the events that make us who we are,” said Burch.
Santa Claus arrived at Four Freedoms Park a few minutes after 6 p.m. and took some of the children’s final orders before Dec. 25. Santa’s workshop simultaneously served as a drop-off location for the Toys-for-Tots program.
There were a number of local performances on the main stage and organizers had set up a snow machine so that children could experience snow, even in 80-degree weather.
Mariner High School drama team members Angela Maglione, Kaitlin Davis and P.J. McCready performed holiday songs, and Caira Everly, a senior at Bishop Verot, also sang.
Near the main stage, spectators visited vendors offering corn dogs, cotton candy and elephant ears.
The holiday festivities wrapped with a 30-minute, movie in the park presentation of the classic, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”