Portage Lakes' annual Fourth of July festivities were a success.
THE AQUA GODS held up the rain and shined their blessings favorably on the Portage Lakes all day last Saturday, but most importantly in the evening. Thunder, lightning and rain drenched the countryside all around, but none fell at the lakes.
As a result, the “Light Up The Lakes” regatta was carried off without a hitch, pleasing the crowds as they “oohed,” “aahed,” “wowed” and made other indiscernible, but nevertheless, approving sounds watching the 15 different decorated boats, all adorned with lights, make their way from the Rotary Camp in Rex Lake to On Tap at The Harbor and then back to the Dietz's Landing - Upper Deck area.
Earlier, between 40 and 50 antique and classic boats displayed their beauty from morning to mid-afternoon before thousands at the docks of On Tap at the Harbor and Nicoletti's at Park Place.
The 38th annual Antique and Classic Boat Show showed why it's considered to be such a shining gem in the July Fourth celebration of the Portage Lakes community.
Jerry Welch of Green, Larry and June Prebis of Seville and Jeff Scott of Doylestown were all double-winners. Welch won first place in the Most Historically Significant category with his 100-year-old, 1913, 17-foot B.N. Morris Deluxe Canoe named “Lena.” He also won the Ned Morhman Award for the best Portage Lakes Boat category. Mohrman was a long time mariner who lived at the Portage Lakes, loved them and promoted them vigorously.
The Prebises won first-place in the Antique Runabout category with their entry of “Double Barrel,” a 1942, 17-state Century Seamaid. They also won the top-prize in the Best Century category.
Scott won twice in the same category with two different entries. In the Best Land Display category, he took first place with a 1959, 14-foot Yellow Jacket Riviera and second with a 1960, 14-foot Yellow Jacket Capri.
In the Classic Outboard category, Terry Egert, Jr. of Green won first place with “Sleek Antique,” his 1950, 13-foot Century Imperial. Second place went to Andrew Johnson of Copley. His entry was a 1959, 13-foot Glasspar G-3. The third spot was taken by David and Corinne Zinader of Coventry for their entry of a 1973, 18-foot Sidewinder.
In the Disappearing Propellor Boat category, first spot went to Jack Lynett of Akron with his entry of “Loon,” a 1953, 15-foot Greavette. John Ashley of Green won first place in they Fiberglass category for “Floating Interest,” a 1988, 26-foot Sleek Craft Ambassador and Larry Otermat of Ashland took top prize in the Late Contempary Wood Classic category with “Dad's Legacy,” a 1940/2009 homebuilt vessel.
Three entrants were victorious in both the Classic Utilities and Classic Runabout categories. In the prior, “Katy Bug,” a 1956, 20-foot Century Coronado owned by Ray and Rose McFarland of Newton Falls won first place. Second place was won by Byron Kruger of New Franklin for his 1964, 18-foot Chris Craft Super Sport and the third spot went to David and Connie Owen of Green for their 1963, 18-foot Chris Craft Holiday entry.
Page 2 of 3 - In the latter category, Mike and Jane Matusick of Hermitage, Pa. won first prize with “Sweet Jane,” a 1967 Century Arabian. Mike and Barb Hillier of New Franklin and Rich Marschner and Wiley Cornell of Cleveland shared second place. The Hillier entry was “Mulligan,” a 1953, 18-foot Chris Craft Riviera.
The Marschner/Cornell entry was “Talaria,” a 1941, 19-foot Chris Craft Custom. They also won first place in the Best Chris Craft category for “Talaria.”
Other winners were, “Sashay” in the Antique and Classic Boat Society’s Most Original Boat category. The vessel, a 1939, 22-foot Chris Craft Custom, is owned by John and Kim Vorhies of Clinton.
Ann Susick of Akron won in the Best Lyman category with “Class of '61,” a 1961, 18-foot Lyman.
Finally The People’s Choice, decided by the folks who attended the show get to vote, was won by Eric and Julie West of New Franklin. Their entry was a 1928, 30-foot Hacker Craft Dolphin named, “Gad-a-Bout.”
Later that evening the annual “Light Up The Lakes” nighttime Regatta did exactly that. The organizer, Brooks Ames, said, “It was another year of fantastic boats.”
Ames admits that the viewers “from boats were not as high in numbers as previous years just because of the weather.” But the viewers on land were quite large and “at some lakefront homes they actually threw Light Up the Lakes parties, complete with fireworks, as we floated by.”
Ames said, “The 619 bridge was packed as usual and this year the local bars and restaurants were packed as well - Dusty's Landing, Howie's, Dietz's, On Tap, Park Place, and Upper Deck. The Upper Deck had an extra outdoor fire display with a man juggling fire! (It was) very cool to see from the water.”
Mark Simpson and his crew from Portage Lakes won the $1,000 first prize with a pirate ship. It was labeled, “The PLX Pirates.” Second place and $500 went to Kathy Meyer and her Ghost fighting crew from Portage Lakes for their Ghost Busters entry. They had Slimer, the Marshmallow Man and a band aboard.
Third spot and $250 went to an Eric Griffin-sponsored entry. He is the new owner of Howie's On The Lakes. The entry was put together over the last two days. There were 16 on the 30-foot pontoon boat and was decorated Hawaiian style, complete with girls in grass skirts hula dancing for the crowds.
An Honorable Mention goes out to a young lady and her crew, Mary Cooper, from Akron. Ames said, “She and her group of ladies have been in the parade for the last four years and assured me she will be in next year rain or shine!”
Ames added that even the tour boat, the Portage Princess, entered. “Annie Norris and Dick Lowery made this gem of the Portage Lakes Ride again by converting it into a floating Dance/Night Club! Very cool!”
Page 3 of 3 - Other entries in the fast popular parade included Mark Headly of Akron with a Speed Demon boat. According to Ames, it “was a great sight to see on the Lakes!” The boat, he was told, is an American Offshore Catamaran! Also Eddie Diebold of Coventry entered his boat which was decorated in Red White and Blue.
Ames concluded his remarks by saying, “Next year we have some big plans. Hopefully we may be able to start over on the East Reservoir, possibly by Dano's, and float all the way through West Reservoir to Howie's.” And as the reputation of this nighttime parade grows, Ames is hoping to get more participation from the East Reservoir residents next year. He's also hoping for local tavern competition and political boats!
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