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Lake St. John Flotilla all out fun

JAY SOWERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — A Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office search and rescue boat leads a long line of boats around the edge of Lake St. John during the annual Lake St. John Flotilla on Saturday afternoon.
JAY SOWERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — A Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office search and rescue boat leads a long line of boats around the edge of Lake St. John during the annual Lake St. John Flotilla on Saturday afternoon.

LAKE ST. JOHN — It’s part Fourth of July, part Mardi Gras parade on water, but for those who live around the water, the Lake St. John flotilla is a definite don’t miss.

While some lake home and camp owners didn’t decorate their boats to take part in the flotilla, others went all out. The riders on Drew Loomis’ boat Jenny were all dressed as characters from the film “Forrest Gump,” while those on The Krewe of St. John boat re-created a floating water park with waterspouts and a slide into a kiddie pool.

Loomis would end up taking home the prize for non-patriotic themed boats in the flotilla contest, while the Krewe of Lake St. John would float away with the award for best overall entry.

The flotilla is an annual event set for the weekend closest to the Fourth of July that raises money for charitable causes through the entrance fees for those who want to participate in the flotilla’s contest. Contestants are judged in the categories of patriotic, non-patriotic and small craft entries, flotilla spokesman Richard Alwood said.

The funds raised also go toward the maintenance of the Lake St. John Community Center and beautification projects around the lake, he said.

“It is just to bring everybody together and to build up the community spirit, a chance for everybody to get together,” he said.

In addition to being a parade across the lake, the flotilla doubles as the blessing of the fleet. The Rev. Louis Sklar, the pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Ferriday, stood on the Stecker family’s deck and sprinkled passing watercraft with holy water.

“We are blessing the lake, and we are giving a blessing for all of the boats and the gear that everybody uses for a safe summer,” Sklar said.

While the water used for the lake blessing is usually blessed on the spot before being used to bless the fleet, Sklar said Saturday’s holy water was actually left over from the baptism of two of the Steckler grandchildren — John Oliver Prescott and August Sebastian Bryson — earlier in the day.

Other flotilla contest winners include:

- In the patriotic category, first place — Richard Prescott; second place — Ken Porter; third place — Kevin Williams.

- In the non-patriotic category, second place — Kathy Rowzee; third place — Wyatt Craig.

- In the small craft category, first place — Tom Bell; second place — Jean and Mary Ellen Gremillion; third place — Billy Sutton.

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