Boaters parade patriotism, pride

Published online: Jul 06, 2010 News SARAH LAMBERT - THE ENQUIRER
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Bob and Barb Gay's pontoon boat was draped in American flags. But at that moment, it needed a white flag.

"We're unarmed," Bob Gay said with a laugh as he drifted too close to the fray. His boat swayed violently as a speedboat zipped past.

The boats nearby were crowded with swimsuit-clad neighbors, all using water balloons, hoses and squirt guns.

"Look at that girl!" Barb cried, laughing at a girl, probably 5 or 6 years old, on a neighboring craft.

The girl's soft brown hair was held back in curled red, white and blue ribbons. She wore a tiny life jacket, camouflage swim suit, and wielded a yellow squirt gun that was half her size.

"I didn't know they did this," Bob Gay said in delight. Although he and Barb had lived by Beadle Lake off and on for the past several years, this was their first year as participants in the annual Beadle Lake Holiday Boat Parade.

"I thought it was a dry old parade," he said. "I would have done this years ago, and brought some water bombs."

More than 40 boats participated in the Fourth of July parade Sunday afternoon. The boats lined up and toured the perimeter of the lake, tooting horns and streaming jets of water at each other. Some battled it out with water balloons while others, like the Gays, were content to watch the fun.

The boats were filled with smiling friends and covered in red, white and blue decor. But one boat, a simple motorboat, contained only a young man and was marked by a single yard flag, strapped to the silver boat's side.

"I'm just here to be free, and celebrate the Fourth," said Evan Galloway, the fishing boat's 15-year-old captain. It was Galloway's first time in the parade.

But this year was the 10th anniversary of the parade, said planner Nancy Sackrider, a Beadle Lake area resident. Sackrider started the parade when she moved to the lake.

Read more at http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20100705/NEWS01/7050316

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