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Boat Parade draws presidents past and present

Those along the shore of Lake Winnisquam might have caught a glimpse of what appeared to be President Barack Obama in this year’s politically themed boat parade in Sanbornton and Belmont. It was actually the Blaisdell family, though, just having some fun over the holiday weekend. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 11, 2012
SANBORNTON — Abe Lincoln, JFK and President Obama (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) were among the political figures who cruised the shores of Lake Winnisquam last Sunday, when the annual boat parade set sail from Sanbornton under the theme "Your Favorite Politician- Or Not."

"It's an election year, so we thought we'd have some fun with it," said Barbara Bormes of the Sanbornton Bay Association, which organizes the annual parade.

While Bormes said that due to the Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday this year, participation was a bit lower than in years past, she was quick to add that the level of fun was just as high as ever.

The Foudriat family had a grand time escorting President John F. Kennedy and a few beauties along the shoreline from Sanbornton to Belmont. Kennedy, played by H.A. Anderson, professed to spectators on the docks and on rafts that he would never cheat on his wife, while Marilyn Monroe (Ashley Darling) did her best to change his mind. Two "Secret Service" men accompanied the former president, but rumor had it the pair were actually Carmine Cioffi and Don Foudriat, who nonetheless looked ominous in their dark suits and sunglasses as they kept a close watch on the "president."

"I was a good president!" Kennedy declared as he waved from the boat, with both his wife and Marilyn at his side.

Following their boat closely were Bob and Jeanne Foudriat with their friends Kate Ross, Pam Gilmette and Brenda Guilmette.

"We're the 'Grassy Knoll' crew," Foudriat said with a grin.

He later confessed that they hadn't had time to decorate their boat, but didn't want to miss out on the fun of the procession.

The Blaisdell family of Sanbornton found current President Barack Obama manning the wheel of their boat as they zipped along the water with plenty of American flags flying, and the Blaisdell family played host to "Honest Abe" in his stove pipe hat.

The flotilla even had a bit of music this year, provided by the Ferrari family, who toted along a boatful of children playing harmonicas. In true patriotic fashion, their boat was decked out with plenty of red, white and blue balloons and streamers.

One boat stood out in the political parade as the Downey family of Sanbornton and the Bourgoines of Tilton joined forces. They each dressed in tie dyed shirts, straw hats and Hawaiian leis and danced a hula as they cruised along.

"The theme was 'Your Favorite Politician- Or Not!" We're the 'Or Not,'" they joked.

The Foudriats and their Kennedy float took top prize for 2012, but everyone who participated walked away a winner as prizes were handed out from restaurants, marinas and other local businesses.

Sanbornton Bay Association members on board the judges' boat went immediately to work planning next year's parade and announced the theme for 2013 will be "Your Favorite State."

The parade, which is held annually over the Fourth of July weekend, is open to all who would like to decorate a boat or dock. Applications will be made available late next spring and may be turned in on the day of the event.

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