Contest to be bigger than ever

Published 12:38 am Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lake St. John — For many, fourth of July weekend wouldn’t be complete without the flotilla and pier decorations at Lake St. John.

But the holiday weekend without the pier decorating contest almost became a reality when a lack of sponsorship threatened its survival.

That’s where Jack Myers and the Krewe of St. John stepped in to save the annual event.

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Myers, organizer of the pier decorating contest, said that the contest almost fell through the cracks this year, but that he and the Krewe of St. John weren’t going to let that happen.

“I think people just got busy and didn’t think about it,” Myers said. “I was more than happy to take over.”

And when he took over, he didn’t want to maintain status quo. He wanted the decorating contest to be bigger than ever.

So he set out, going door-to-door and pier-to-pier, to let people know that the contest was on. And, even though registration doesn’t begin until Friday, the response has been exactly what Myers wanted.

“I have had a lot of people call and a lot of people ask about the contest,” Myers said. “Everything has been real promising.”

Over the years the pier decorating portion of the annual festivities had taken a back seat to the flotilla, Myers said.

Myers said that could be because the judging took place just a couple of hours before the beginning of the flotilla. This year the pier judging will take place at 6 p.m, after the flotilla is complete.

“With the judging at noon, people were rushing around trying to get their boats finished for flotilla to start at 2 p.m.,” Myers said. “With judging starting in the evening, they won’t have to worry about that.”

Those aren’t the only changes people will see this year. There will also be door prizes raffled off during the day.

“We’ve got a bunch of good prizes this year,” Myers said.

In the past, flotilla and pier decorating were organized together but that has changed this year too.

“We want to boost up both sides of it so we separated them this year,” Myers said.

So far, it looks like the goal will be met. Myers said there are already groups decorating for the weekend.

Some groups have plans so special they are doing all they can to keep them under-wraps until the big day. Myers said a few groups are keeping their decorations hidden in garages so he can’t see them until the big day.

“I’ve been trying to get a peek,” Myers joked. “I’ve even used binoculars but I haven’t been able to see anything yet.”

However, he does know that the Water Tower Café is planning something big.

And after the flotilla has passed and the pier judging had been completed, lake goers can settle down and enjoy a fireworks show that is slated to take place at sunset.

The fireworks for the show are valued at over $9,000 and all came from donations, Myers said.

He hopes that all the changes and the extra work everyone is putting in will provide a fun day for those celebrating the fourth of July at Lake St. John.

“The day is really a family oriented day,” Myers said. “We want to see people get out and spend the fun time with their kids and families and visitors.”

Registration for the pier decorating contest begins from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday and continues from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday. Registration is $10 per pier and awards will be given in three categories: patriotic, non-patriotic and overall.