Think about this. With you unaware on June 2 of the risk of losing the boat parade, this year’s July 4 celebration could have been in big trouble. It could have gone down in history as the year the boat parade wasn’t. That was the date I first wrote about this pending disaster. It had me plenty worried. There were only 21 days left to salvage the parade, and from the number of emails I received after that first column, and from the comments on social media, it seemed as if it had many of you were deeply concerned.
At the time there were less than a handful of boats registered and the future looked bleak. But after word got out, almost 30 boats paraded before the throngs who gathered along the shores to watch their beloved boat parade. Some have given credit to this column or even to myself. Others have indicated that the credit goes to the power of the press. Perhaps they may be right. But in my mind, that credit rightfully goes to you; all of you who took the time to register, decorate and fill your boat with folks who love a parade.
No one had said anything previously about the upcoming parade. At least I hadn’t heard anything about the minimum amount of boats needed. That’s why it was important to get the word out and why I devoted a few columns to just that. But in the end, it was you. So pat yourself on the back because it was nobody else but you who saved that boat parade. And my deep gratitude and appreciation for what you did is expressed for all times here and now.
When I first learned of the possibility that the boat parade might be cancelled, I thought of past parades where the total number of boats might have challenged this year’s minimum number of entries (10). Nevertheless, those parades went on. Many times there were boats that weren’t registered. They just wanted to get into the parade and have a great time and so they attached a few balloons, streamers or flags at the last minute and, if a break in the parade appeared, in they went. Of course without a number displayed on the side of the vessel for the judges, you knew they weren’t registered, but who looks for numbers when they’re watching a parade and having a good time?
When I chaired nine of the first 13 parades we began putting the next year’s event together the day following the parade. Knowing what needed improved, and rather than forgetting, we set about to fix it them. It’s possible to still apply that system to today’s parade. Here’s how. Suppose there were 27 boats registered this year, and there nearly were. Set a goal of just one-third more. That would total 36 boats for next year.
First, if you registered for this year’s parade, make a pledge to do the same next year. Next, talk to neighbors about entering the parade; those whom you know have boats. If all 27 registrants talk to a minimum of three other boaters over the next eleven months, surely nine would agree to enter.
If there are any who are reluctant to enter, then invite them to join you in next year’s parade. With them riding in your boat, you can show them first hand all the fun they’re missing. This works, folks. It’s based on a simple rule. It’s called the law of averages.
Let’s all start now and avoid the last minute rush. You’ll be able to hold your head high and once again pat yourself on the back for doing your part to continue this great tradition.
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