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The Suburbanite
  • FRANK WEAVER, JR: This week's a biggie

  • Here, at the Portage Lakes in Northeastern Ohio, we start our July Fourth celebrating somewhat early.

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  • AS YOU’VE PROBABLY noticed from the Antique and Classic Boat show, the awards dinner and the “Light-Up-The-Lakes” regatta that was held on Saturday, here at the Portage Lakes in Northeastern Ohio we start our July Fourth celebrating somewhat early. We also have a penchant for extending celebrations such as the Fourth of July past the regular date. Simply put, we love to party in the good ol’ summertime. After all, why else would we even live here at the lakes?
    The 38th Annual Daytime Boat Parade
    This week the celebrating continues. Between the nighttime regatta and the daytime boat parade, we party. But on July 6 the celebration kicks into high gear again. The 38th annual July Fourth daytime Boat Parade will form at 12:30 p.m. in the waters of East Reservoir near Kieffer’s Marine (formerly Leighten’s East) and commence at 1 p.m. Since an open-theme will be used, boats will be decorated according to whatever theme the boat owners choose.
    According to the committee member who is in charge of the parade, Steve Mervosh, the parade will be escorted once again by the Summit County Sheriff’s Boat. The boats will circle East Reservoir, proceed through Iron Channel (Lover’s Lane for all the purists), enter West Reservoir, circle On Tap at the Harbor (formerly the Olde Harbor Inn) and Nicolletti’s At Park Place (formerly Hook, Line & Drinkers), circle the island near Mariner’s Point and then proceed through West Reservoir past the “Upper Deck” and “Dietz’s Landing” and on into Turkeyfoot Channel.
    Upon entering Turkeyfoot Lake the parade will run along the east shore on its way south, circle the island at the tip and turn north past Howie’s on the Lake and the Tudor House and then west toward Rex Lake. It will cruise past Dusty’s Landing and turn south again to finish at the State Park Beach where prizes will be awarded. Those prizes are $700 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place.
    To enter the parade and be eligible for cash prizes, you must register your boat. Boat registration forms are available at Kieffer’s Marine (formerly Leighton’s Boat House East) in East Reservoir. Landlubbers can find the Marine store at 252 Portage Lakes Drive in Coventry Township, just one-half mile east of the clock tower. No rain date has been set for the parade.
    Luminaries
    For those who are unfamiliar with luminaries, they are simply votive candles set in a white paper bag or a white opaque plastic container with about two or three inches of sand in the bottom. The white sandwich paper bags and short, fat, votive candles burn longer and are available at most local stores. Sand can usually be purchased in bags at hardware stores. The luminaries are set along the shoreline about ten feet apart. Thousands are lit, and as a result cast a soft, pleasant glow for the enjoyment of boaters and others on the way to watch the fireworks. The lighting of luminaries begins about 8 PM so they’re glowing when the boaters arrive.
    Page 2 of 3 - Fireworks
    The fireworks display is scheduled for Saturday evening at dusk with a rain date of Sunday, July 7. The show will be shot from Mason’s Point on Turkeyfoot Lake in the Portage Lakes. Akron radio station WONE, 97.5 on the FM dial, will simulcast music to the event. Portage Lakes Fireworks Association officials claim an estimated 400,000 people saw the fireworks last year. Since each year draws more and more, and word of our fireworks show goes out to the people, it’s possible even more may attend this year’s event. At the moment it is the largest privately funded fireworks show in Ohio. No tax dollars have ever been used and that specification continues on today. The show is paid by sponsors, fundraisers and the average Joe and Mary, just like you and me.
    As of this writing donations are still needed. If you enjoy this annual event, and hope it continues for years to come so our children and grandchildren may enjoy the same thrills we have in the past, kindly open your checkbooks and write out a donation to the Portage Lakes Fireworks Association (PLFA).
     “It’s the private donations that make this show so great, year after year,” said Dano Mundy, PLFA Chairman. Mundy has been chairing the annual Portage Lakes July Fourth Fireworks extravaganza for at least the past twenty years.
     Donations may be made several ways but please do not send cash. Checks may be post mailed to P.O. Box 26923, Akron, Ohio 44319. You can also visit www.portagelakes.com and use your MasterCard, Visa or Discover cards to donate. All donations are tax-deductible and can be dropped off to Ayers Insurance or Dietz’s Restaurant, both on West Turkeyfoot Lake Road (Rte. 619), or at Dusty’s Landing at the end of Dusty’s Road. All three are in New Franklin.
     They may also be dropped off at Dano’s Lakeside Pub, South Main Street in Green. All four of these business establishments are in the immediate Portage Lakes area.
     You may also stop by the National City Bank at the intersection of Route 619 and South Arlington Road in Green to make a donation. Or feel free to use your PayPal account by sending it to plfa3910@yahoo.com .
    If any additional information is needed it may be obtained from Karen Ayers at Karen@portagelakes.com or Karen@ayersinsurance.com.
     Like I suggested last week, feel free to clip this column and use it for your July Fourth Agenda. And for all July Fourth event updates, you may visit www.portagelakes.com .
    Two Final Words Of Caution
    First, if you must set off private fireworks, please don’t allow children or anyone unfamiliar with the process to fire them. Severe accidents can and do happen. Leave it to the professionals for a safe Fourth.
    Page 3 of 3 -  Secondly, remember that the waters of the Portage Lakes are state park waters and as such, consuming alcoholic beverages, or even having open containers aboard your vessel, are prohibited and a punishable violation of the law. Don’t drink and drive your boat but if you must drink, do it inside one of the many taverns that line the lakes and be sure you have a designated boat driver.
    Comments may be emailed to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com