With one boat coming as far as Hilton Head, South Carolina, to participate in the Palm Coast Holiday Boat Parade, event organizer Sarah Ulis said she was pleased with this year's growth.
"This year, we saw a lot of new boaters, people who have never been in the parade," Ulis said. "Almost half of them were brand new and had never been in the parade before."
The 36th-annual parade was held on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 15. Hundreds of spectators lined homes along the Instacoastal Waterway, many under decorated docks, to watch a line of 47 well-lit boats parade by.
"It is such a thrill to be part of it. It's unbelievable," Ulis said. "I feel like it's Palm Coast giving itself a big hug."
As the grand marshals, Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland and Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly rode on the lead boat in the parade, driven by Captain Robert Ulis.
"I feel like it's Palm Coast giving itself a big hug."
- SARAH ULIS, event organizer
The largest number of boats participated this year, Sarah Ulis said. Last year, there were 40 boats. She hopes to increase the publicity out of Central Florida even more next year to encourage boaters from North and South Florida to participate in the seasonal fun.
"We have an advantage here because the Instracoastal is fairly narrow and it's not out in the Atlantic and it's not in a big bay, so it's easy to see from the shore and makes it a more intimate event," she said. "And, what Flagler Broadcasting did brought a new dynamic to the parade and extended it beyond just watching the boat parade, to have the commentary, which they did a beautiful job with."
New to this year was a live broadcast with KOOL 100.9 FM. The anchors were Flagler Broadcasting's "Doctor Dave;" former Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts; Ansley Cestare, of Flagler-Palm Coast High School's TV Production program; and Donella Crawford, representing the Palm Coast Yacht Club, which was the presenter of the parade.
"I think it was great to have an opportunity to be with other people who have experience being on the radio," said Cestare, who has been interning with KOOL 100.9 FM for a few weeks. "It was great to be able to communicate with them, laugh with them and talk to other people around there nonstop for a whole hour."
Cestare noted that the announcing the parade was very different than quick news shows with FPC-TV, but she enjoyed the change.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see her on the Today Show one day," Sarah Ulis said about Cestare.