The Suburbanite
  • Fireworks; day, night boat parade winners

  • It happens occasionally, not often, but there are times when I do omit information.

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  • It happens occasionally, not often, but there are times when I do omit information. Last week's column was one of those times. I had inadvertently failed to mention the 49 boats participating in the Antique and Classic Boat Show came from as far away as Georgia, New York, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania with the most being from Ohio.
    Nighttime boat parade
    According to the founder and organizer of the lighted nighttime boat parade, Brooks E. Ames, Light up the Lakes was a huge success. "The lakes truly know how to do it," Ames said. All winners were from Portage Lakes and while he's not positive, he believes they were all from New Franklin. The winners were Ed Nowlan for his #17 registered fire eating dragon boat with flapping wings. Nowlan won first place and $500.
    Second place and $250 went to Diane McCarthy for her #9 registered  pirate boat with the huge mast and a crew of pirates. Third place and $125 went to Cathy Meyer for her #30 NYC boat complete with a live band playing throughout the parade route. Ten boat entries went all out with decorations, fireworks, a "live" Disney movie, and generally decorated in the holiday theme colors of red, white and blue. The seven other boats all could've won. It became obvious that all 10 were decorated with creativeness, energy and in keeping with the spirit of the holiday.
    This was the third consecutive year for the nighttime boat parade and each year it seems to be getting more and more popular. "It was amazing to see how many people came out this year to view the 'Light up (boats).' The shores were packed with people and (there were) loads of boats on (the) water," said Ames. "I would like to thank the Portage Lakes Power Squadron for helping me out with the line-up and of course our local Portage Lakes Sheriff for doing such a great job leading our parade."
    Ames is already looking forward to a bigger and better 2012 night time parade. At present, he’s planning on a possible corporate sponsor with more cash prizes and a longer route! He said he'd like to get the prize money a little higher, after all, according to Ames, some of the folks dropped more than $1000 into decorating their boats! 
    Daytime boat parade
    In the daytime boat parade, held the next morning and commencing at 1 p.m. from Kieffer's Marine, 25 boats registered to participate. Escorted by the Summit County Sheriff's boat and led by campers from Rex Lake's Akron Rotary Club who served as Grand Marshals, the boat parade followed the shoreline from Kieffer’s Marine in East Reservoir to the State Park Beach in Turkeyfoot Lake. 
    The Vesco family of Portage Lakes (Green), with their “Yellow Submarine” theme, took first place and won $700. Second place went to Tim Lee for his Queen of the Nile theme. Lee, from Mogadore, won $300 with his entry.
    Page 2 of 2 - Third place, and $200 went to Mike Farmer of Portage Lakes. His boat entry was the “Grease Lightning” theme. Fourth place went to the John Sours family from both Coventry and Wadsworth for their U.S. Olympic Team entry.
    The Tommy Leighton Award was won by the Portage Lakes Rowing Association (PLRA) for their big yellow duck with the little ducklings entry. The PLRA is based here in the Portage Lakes.
    Once again the Portage Lakes Fireworks Association led by Dan Mundy and his "Gang of 21" closed out the Portage Lakes July Fourth festivities with a spectacular, mammoth, pyrotechnic show launched from Mason's Point (the eastern tip of State Park Beach) out over Turkeyfoot Lake to literally thousands upon thousands of fireworks aficionados, both on shore and in boats.
    Organizers say approximately 100,000 sky gazers watched the fireworks display and that is considered to be a conservative figure. Many firework enthusiasts said it was the best show ever launched in the Portage Lakes and so
    me even went so far as to say it was the best they've ever witnessed.
    Each year you watch the show and then leave for home, talking about it and fully convinced that Dan Mundy and his "Gang of 21" outdid themselves, and each year after watching the new display you wonder again how they do it. It instantly becomes the best and last year's display only a distant memory.
    Most agreed the music added a special touch to the display. The show was simulcast with patriotic music over WKDD FM Radio station. The annual fireworks display (this year more than a $40,000 show) is considered to be the largest privately funded show east of the Mississippi River and one of the largest in the state of Ohio.
    Mundy said, "The show was great and all of our events went well."
    Comments may be e-mailed to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com