If you're in the dark about this year's annual Portage Lakes July Fourth Antique and Classic Boat Show, Boat Parade and Fireworks celebration, the one that usually covers the better part of two weeks and attracts thousands upon thousands, don't feel alone. You're not the only one. So am I. For the boat parade and Antique Boat show, this year would mark the 44th consecutive year. For the fireworks, it would be the 35th.

Regardless, there's been no official word from the powers that be of the Antique and Classic Boat Show that's held every year at the docks of what used to be the old Harbor Inn, 562 Portage Lakes Drive in Coventry Township, as to where, when or what time their event will be held. Likewise with the boat parade held on the main water level of the Portage Lakes, the sand castle building contest held on the Turkeyfoot Lake beach at the State Park or the fireworks launched each year high in the sky over Turkeyfoot Lake from the eastern point of that beach.

Unofficial word does have it that the fireworks will be on Saturday, July 6 at dusk. Usually, following the boat parade, that ends the Fourth of July celebration.

I have no doubt these events will happen this year here in the Portage Lakes as we join the rest of the country celebrating the 243rd founding of this great nation. It's just that I have received no official word from anyone connected with hosting these events. And it's getting late. Normally, I have more information than I need months ahead, which is why it's enough to split into two or three issues. And it gives more publicity that way. But not this year.

Oh, the Internet may have had a few messages, mostly on Facebook and other social networks. But after being stung a time or two, I've learned quickly not to believe everything that's printed on the Internet. What happens is that someone will receive a message, and if it affects this area they will forward to everyone on their Facebook friend's list and half of Canada. Whether the information in the message is correct or not makes no difference. Never stopping to verify the data, they hit that forward button and off she goes.

I can't do that. If there is any doubt about the veracity of any part of the message, I hold back until I am absolutely, positively sure I've received correct additional material confirming the dubious part that questioned my sense of reason. Then, and only then, do I submit this column for publication. After all, better safe than sorry.

I recall a number of years ago they were talking about dropping the boat parade due to a lack of participation. But after a column appeared mentioning it, the people launched more boat entries, and nicely decorated ones I must say, than they had in quite a few years. And a couple of years ago a rumor spread there would be no boat parade unless a minimum of 10 boats registered. That rumor, however, turned out to be fact and a column was devoted to that very subject. Fortunately, many more entries registered than was needed and the same the following year. But this year there's been nothing. Not ever a hint from the powers that be as to the theme or what is being planned.

It's now 42 days until the Fourth of July. I think it's time to crank up the publicity machine and get the word out to friend and neighbor alike so folks like you can plan your holiday with family and friends around these planned events. Don't you?

Rest assured, folks, when I receive all the data on what is being planned for the Fourth here in the lakes, I will share it with you immediately. Until then, take whatever you read on the Internet and other social networks with a grain of salt. And whoever are the powers that be in each of these four events, enlighten the people, please.

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