Lake St. John’s been floating their boats for 25 years

Published 12:32 am Sunday, July 2, 2017


FERRIDAY — The Lake St. John Flotilla celebrated a quarter-century of creativity.

Dozens of decorative boats circled the lake Saturday, as both patriotic and non-patriotic boats alike dazzled onlookers.

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The ceremony lived up to its title of “Mardi Gras on the Lake,” as some boats tossed beads, cups, T-shirts and more into the crowd.

The themes of the boats ran the gamut. From Christmas in July, to The Price is Right, to the Lake St. John Party Bus, boat owners displayed their creativity and spirit.

In fact, those are the two categories that the judges valued most when evaluating the boats. The judges — who joked that they should remain anonymous so they could not be bribed — said the boats that really stood out were not just the most decorative, but also the ones with the most enthusiastic passengers.

As the boats circled the lake, the Rev. John Pardue said a blessing for the boats, asking that they would be blessed “as God blessed Noah’s Ark.”

The event doubled as a welcome of sorts for the Rev. Pardue, yesterday being his first official day with St. Patrick Church.

“I enjoyed it,” the Rev. Pardue said. “There were some colorful sights, let me tell you.”

The event, which prides itself on celebrating family and freedom, had people of all different ages lined along the lake’s edge to see the boats.

Children at the event, such as 13-year-old P.J. Bryson, not only had fun watching the parade, but swimming in the lake or doing flips into the water off the piers.

Bryson said he has been going to the Flotilla as long as he can remember.

“I’m looking forward to it every year,” Bryson said. “I like how many people gather here — and my family is here.”

Bryson said his favorite boat was “Life on the Lake Looks Better in Pink,” which featured a giant pair of pink sunglasses adorning the boat.

“That one was probably the most decorated,” Bryson said.

He was on to something with his pick.

Judges crowned the boat the overall champion of the parade, awarding Mike and Cathy Cook with a large life ring. This is the second consecutive year the Cooks have won the award.

Many familiar faces attended Flotilla, but the event had its newcomers as well. Traci and Chris Bamburg and their 5-year-old son Logan said the event surpassed their expectations.

“It’s great to see people go all out for something so important in this area,” Traci Bamburg said. “Logan probably won’t stop talking about this for the next six months.”