2024 Lake Lanier boat parade sees another successful turnout

Published 2:45 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2024

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TRYON—The Independence Day boat parade that takes place annually on Lake Lanier proved to be another great success. More than twenty forms of decorated watercraft floated the lake, while their captains had their eyes set on winning the first-place prize selected by a panel of judges. 

The winners were selected based on the decorations and style of their watercraft. The competition was fierce, as all competitors had something unique to offer, but ultimately, only five were chosen as winners.

Participants in the parade began their voyage at the Joyce Family Dock, where they received a numbered boat paddle to enter the competition. Captain Grant Burns, an organizer of the parade, led the parade past his boathouse, where the judges waited in anticipation to see this year’s unique entrants. The parade continued around all three basins of Lake Lanier, where boathouses were festively decorated to celebrate Independence Day.

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“The judges had a tough job this year,” said parade organizer Carol Foreman Whaley. “There were many who donned their various crafts with very interesting decorations.”

After the parade was over and the judges settled their opinions, the winners of the 2024 Independence Day Boat Parade were selected.

First place went to the Bustle Family with “Tropical America,” closely followed by the Goodman family’s “Olympic Team.” Coming in third place was the Hassold family’s “USA & SC Flags,” and coming in fourth and fifth place was the Mark Williams family’s “Star and Eagle” and the Jeff Justice family’s “Ice Cream Theme.”

Winners received gift certificates to one of five local restaurants, which were Side Street Pizza, Hare & Hound Restaurant, Iron Key Brewing Company, Southside Smokehouse & Grill, and Buck’s Pizza.

After a blistering hot day, paradegoers were ready for the sun to go down and to celebrate the holiday with a bang, with many dock owners setting off fireworks to wrap up the night.

“It was the hottest boat parade that I have ever been a part of in years, but that sure didn’t stop anyone from participating in the event one way or another,” says Whaley. “The heat of the day was temporarily forgotten as the sun went down behind the mountains that surround Lake Lanier, and then the celebration continued with a beautiful fireworks display by dock owners.”

Event organizers thanked the five restaurants for their prizes and photographers Wes Fisher and Rene Waldman for their great photos of the winners. They also thanked the Joyce family for sharing their beautifully decorated boathouse with parade entrants.