by Mary Dickinson
December 29, 2003
It was about 2pm, so we decided to walk back to our condo nearby and have a late lunch. As we went further down the roadway, we noticed that some people were already claiming the free seating at the picnic tables along the Intracoastal Waterway. We packed a lunch and went back to the park and claimed a great site at a picnic table next to the water. We had to pay $2 to enter the park for a special event.
From our table we had a view all the way up the waterway to where the grandstand was located. For the rest of the afternoon, we watched as the decorated yachts and other vessels went down the waterway to Port Everglades where the parade was setting up. One vessel - it might have been an old tanker - was set up like a tiki hut village. In fact, it had Tiki Beach written on it. Of course, there was a pirate ship. Some big yachts had several sponsors whose names were in lights on the sides of the vessels. Businesses in Fort Lauderdale like to be represented in the boat parade. The Swap Shop had a huge vessel demonstrating their circus performance. Trapeze artists were swinging from high up while clowns did funny things. They even had some of their animals on their vessel. Some looked a lot better in the daylight than they did at night with their lights on. The theme of this year's parade was Once Upon A Time.
As the day wore on, people gathered along the waterway until there were about four rows of people everywhere. At about 7:30pm, the 92 participating vessels started going past us, led by a tremendous display of fireworks in the lead vessel. David Cassidy, who played Keith Partridge in the Partridge Family, was the Grand Marshal. He had recently moved to Fort Lauderdale.
From journal Sea Forever