In its 25th year, the Palm Coast Holiday Boat Parade will now extend its route to Grand Haven.
Jim Potochick has put 30,000 miles in the last six years on his 40-foot trawler. Among his travels, he has sailed the Great Loop, a 5,500 mile journey from Palm Coast north to the Hudson River and Lake Ontario, and then back down the Mississippi River.
But in all of his time on the water, he’s never had thousands of people cheer him on, except during the Palm Coast Holiday Boat Parade.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Potochick said. “People do a lot of work decorating their boats.”
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the parade, and it will also feature a special guest as grand marshal: Boating enthusiast Mayor Jon Netts will be in the lead boat to wave to the landlubbers.
From that vantage point, however, Netts will miss out on Potochick’s display. He said this year he’ll have a cast of more than a dozen in different costumes ranging from Frosty to Rudolph. The boat’s sound system will blast out Christmas favorites, and the cast members will come out according to the song.
Potochick said he knows of some house parties that will draw 40 to 50 people along the parade route. In all, there could be thousands of people watching the water. This year, the route will pass through Grand Haven, as well.
Potochick’s plans for a costumed cast may be one of the highlights, but there are always some unexpected challengers for the best-decorated boat.
“Going back a few years, there were some unique ones,” Potochick said. “Someone decorated a canoe and had his dog dressed up as Santa Claus.”
Potochick said this is his fifth year participating, and he’s looking forward to it, after he missed the event last year. He said nothing brings the holiday spirit to Palm Coast like Christmas lights on the Intracoastal Waterway.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Palm Coast Holiday Boat Parade
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4
WHERE: Boats will assemble in Cimmaron Basin at 5:45 p.m., then head east to the Intracoastal Waterway, turn right, and proceed south past Canopy Walk, St. Joe Walkway, the new Palm Coast Waterfront Park, Island Estates and Grand Haven. Boats will turn around at the gazebo in Grand Haven and proceed north to the mouth of the Clubhouse Waterway, where they will disperse.
CONTACT: Register your boat by Thursday, Dec. 2. Contact Bruce Douglas at 445-8864 or Jim Potochick at 446-8548.