Holiday tradition continues
Hansel Lopez and Victoria Olson have been going to the Holiday Boat-A-Long for the last couple of years. It was the start of a Christmas tradition for the couple, one they used to spend quality time together and get in the spirit of the holiday season.
But, the tradition took on a whole other meaning this year with the birth of their daughter, Analisa.
Now it was about more than just the holidays, now it was about family, and the importance of being together during the most celebrated times of the years.
“This is going to be something we do every year as a family,” Lopez said.
Analisa was pointing at all the boats as they passed by, causing her parents to laugh at her sense of discovery.
“She’s amazed by the lights and how they’re reflecting on the water,” Lopez added.
They were among the thousands that descended on Four Freedoms Park Sunday afternoon to watch the Holiday Boat-A-Long, a Cape Coral tradition for nearly four decades.
Started by Archie and Edwina Hahn, the boat-a-long draws together dozens of boats in the Bimini Basin, decked out in Christmas lights and all the holiday trimmings.
The event has grown over the years to include live music, vendors and an appearance by the big man himself, Santa Claus.
This year’s boat-a-long was sponsored by Sea-Tow, a first for the company. The company also plans on being sponsors again next year, according to Senior Dispatcher Heather Fabrizzi.
Fabrizzi said 187 boats took part in this year’s event.
Sea-Tow also collected toys for Toys for Tots, using six different boats to pick up toys along the parade route where people were having holiday parties.
Fabrizzi said as many as 1,000 toys were collected on Sunday night, which will help to ensure that many kids will have a merry Christmas.
“People don’t have a lot of money but they’re still finding a way to do something,” Fabrizzi said. “Even though people are hurting, there’s always someone else hurting worse.”
The giving spirit put Fabrizzi in the holiday mood, she said, adding that Sea-Tow was happy to help out the community.
“I’m ready for the holiday now,” she said. “The parade is a lot of work, but it really puts us in the spirit.”