Since the first of the year I’ve been dedicating at least one column a month to the upcoming July Fourth Boat Parade, suggesting ideas on decorating your vessel. It’s hoped that these columns are working and you won’t get caught at the last minute perplexed on what theme to use in decorating your boat.

This month, dads and moms, I’m covering storybook land. Of all the themes we did when I was chairing the boat parades, these were the most popular, the favorites among kids, and they brought out the most entries. The following theme suggestions can serve as a great way of getting the kids involved in the decorating and including them in the boat crew. After all, if this Fourth of July tradition is expected to continue, it’ll be today’s youth who carry it on.

So let’s start off with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Use a teenager for Snow White and small children for the dwarfs. Turn your boat into a magical fairyland home surrounded with trees.

If not to your liking, then turn your attention to Red Riding Hood. This has all the elements for a well decorated boat. There’s a big bad wolf, Grandma, the Lumberjack who saves Grandma and, of course, the star of the story herself, Li’l Red Riding hood.

Next, we have another tale featuring the big bad wolf. It’s the classic Three Little Pigs. A pontoon boat would be ideal to use. Build three small houses. Have the straw and stick or wooden houses spread across the ground in two separate heaps of rubble. Build the brick house next to them so it’s still standing with the wolf outside huffing and puffing and trying to get in while the three little pigs are inside looking safely out the window and laughing up a storm. It would make a great entry.

Any cartoon character becomes a great entry. Donald Duck and his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie and Uncle Scrooge McDuck are perfect. Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester Pussycat, Tweety Bird, Yosemite Sam, Popeye the Sailor Man, his girlfriend, Olive Oyl, Sweet Pea, Wimpy and Popeye’s nemeses, Brutus are more suggestions. And, of course, all those wonderful Dr. Seuss characters such as the Cat In The Hat and others.

And Hickory, Dickory Dock, with three mice running up a clock is another good idea that should turn the heads of the parade judges and the throngs of watchers lined along the shores.

Then there’s that all time favorite childhood tale of Hansel and Gretel. Create a gingerbread house showing the back and two sides made from backed goods with the front wide open showing Hansel, Gretel and the wicked witch. Be sure to show a trail of big crumbs from the edge of the boat leading to the gingerbread house.

And what would a storybook land theme be without an entry of Cinderella? Beside Cinderella, you’d need her wicked stepmother. Both homely looking and nasty stepsisters, a pumpkin carriage four kids dressed as white mice for the driver and coachmen, a glass slipper laying on the ground and a handsome young prince.

You could even reverse the story with a boy servant, a mean stepfather, two dimwitted stepbrothers, a girl princess and call it Cinderfella.

There are also the stories of Br’er Rabbit and His Tales of Uncle Remus. There’s that wonderful child’s story of Charlottes Web, the nursery rhyme song rounds of the Three Blind Mice, Row, Row, Row Your Boat and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. 

Remember, watercraft safety rules still apply for boat parades, so make sure there’s a life preserver for all on board. Regardless of whether you win, show or place, entries such as these are sure to get big hands of applause as they pass thousands of parade watchers.

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