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Real 'floats' thrill spectators at annual boat parade

The Cunninghams of Belmont cruised the waters of Lake Winnisquam last weekend, dancing to the theme of “Happy Days” theme song. The family took home first place for their entry in the annual July 4 weekend event. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 06, 2011
SANBORNTON — Mother Nature was at her finest last Saturday morning, when boats gathered near Pot Island in Lake Winnisquam to line up for the Winnisquam Village Association's annual Boat Parade.

This year's theme, according to organizer Barbara Bormes, was "Your Favorite TV Show."

"We asked they chose a television show prior to 1980 and decorate their boats to represent that show," she said.

Participants could pick up registration forms at a number of Winnisquam area locations, so up until Saturday's lineup, Bormes had no idea how many people would join the parade, nor what their theme would be, making it all a part of the fun and excitement of the day. She was not disappointed.

As one o'clock neared, everyone assembled at the island and prepared for the journey along the shore, from Sanbornton to Belmont and back. Music blared from some, and those in boats out on the lake, as well as families gathered on the docks and shoreline, all stopped to wave, cheer and dance along to familiar tunes like the themes from "Happy Days" and "Hawaii 5-0."

"It was really great. We had some very clever decorations this year, and had a lot of fun with it," said Bormes.

The parade was led by association president Earl Leighton of Sanbornton in his antique boat, followed by the judges in a pontoon boat. Behind them were familiar TV characters like Gilligan, Dan-O, Monty Hall and Lucille Ball.

Catching everyone's eye, however, were Fonzie and the gang, ironically portrayed by the Cunningham family of Belmont, the same name as the show's popular family. Their pontoon boat was covered with cardboard to make it look like a classic '57 Chevy as it motored along the route.

"They blew me away with their float. Making the (pontoon) boat look like an old car was really neat," said Bormes.

Onboard another entry, potential contestants jumped up and down holding "Pick me Monty" signs on the "Let's Make a Deal" boat. 'Monty,' dressed in his familiar suit and tie, stood in the bow, ready to offer all sorts of tempting trades for them.

"McHale's Navy" was also a big hit with the crowd, followed by the smaller "Minnow," carrying Gilligan, the Skipper, Ginger, MaryAnn and their pals on yet another "three-hour tour."

Popular female characters were Wonder Woman, who made a spectacular patriotic-looking appearance out on the lake, and the Foudriat family brought back memories of "I Love Lucy" with their float.

In the end, the "Happy Days" gang were dancing beside the juke box as their entry cruised into first place for the third year. Everyone walked away a winner, however, with many gift certificates and prizes to chose from for being a part of the fun. Inner tubes, fishing poles and other water-related items were also awarded, and Bormes said she is most grateful to all who helped make the 20th annual Winnisquam Village Association Boat Parade a success.

Contributing to the event were Winnisquam Marine, China Garden, Winnisquam Trading Post, Shooters Tavern, Lobster Connection, Cara Bean Coffee, The Galleria, Story's Sporting Goods and McLean Marina, Sal's Pizza, Mountain View Mama, Katie Flo's Café, Meltaway Ice Cream, Winnisquam Collectibles and Pirate's Cove.

"We're very grateful to everyone who helped, and look forward to people getting involved for next year's parade, where the theme will be 'Your Favorite Politician (or not),'" said Bormes.

Anyone interested in in assisting with next year's parade or becoming a member of the Winnisquam Village Association may contact Bormes at 528-4841.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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