Big crowd watches 9th-annual boat parade

July 2010 News
The ninth annual Jackson Lake Boat Parade in observance and celebration of the Fourth of July attracted a large crowd Sunday.

Vehicles lined the shoulders of Jackson Lake Road in both directions extending out several hundred yards from the entrance to Martin's Marina, where parking was at a premium. 

The marina grounds were literally covered with campers, vehicles and people of all ages as patriotic music belted from the grandstand speakers, and people of all ages scrambled to catch T-shirts being launched from the passing boats. 

Across the water from the marina, boats of all sizes lined the shores of Goat Island providing a clear channel between them and the marina banks for the boats to parade by the judges on the grandstand. 

Twelve boats paraded through, with lots of flags flying and thousands of lights glowing while they waved, played music and fired off T-shirts toward the banks of the island and the marina. 

Officials from the Department of Natural Resources, the Jasper County Sheriff's Department and the Butts County Sheriff's Department led off the parade at around 8:30 in the evening, when it was still light enough to see the boats and dark enough to appreciate all their lights. 

There were seven participants in the Pontoon Boat Division, and the Dixie Queen owned by Mike and Linda Collins won first place and claimed the $500 in prize money. 

Freedom Fighter owned by Johnny and Gina Cargile came in second to claim the $225 prize. 
`Star Spangled Banner' claimed third place and the $100 prize. 

In the Ski/Bass and Other Division, with the same prize money awards as the Pontoon Division, first place was taken by Sweet Caroline owned by David and Kim Andrews. Second place was taken by Salute to the Red, White and Blue owned by Mike Thomas, and third place was claimed by Light up the Fourth, owned by Gary Wiggins.

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