… on a prep parade

told you I would write about it and so here I yam!

Okay, so there was this parade.

But here is the preamble:

We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…

No, not that preamble, this one:

Every year in Boothbay Harbor (Hah-buh), during the week before the 4th of July, there is a week long festival called Windjammer Days. There is a very cool video about the festival riiiiiiiiight…. here!

It’s a whole week dedicated to celebrating sailing and boating and the sea, with crowds gathering for everything from a lobster eating contest, to an antique boat parade, to a huge tug-of-war across the harbor, to a parade and fireworks and – and I am not kidding you here – a codfish relay race which involves suiting up in fishing gear and running with two dead fishes (I’m opting for The Godfather pluralization of ‘fish’) in your hands and handing them off to your teammate so he or she can run with the dead fishes and then give them to another teammate. I am not sure, but it seems to me that you would only want to be on a team with people you don’t like very much because who wants to hand dead fishes to people they love?

Not me, that’s not who.

But I digress.

Windjammer Days is both wicked fun and wicked cool and I love the whole thing.

But one of my favorite new experiences this year was that I was invited to help decorate, and then ride in (I know!) the lighted boat parade. AND as I told you in the last post, I was told that – because I showed up to help this time – I would also be invited to help next time during the Lighted Boat Parade which takes place during Boothbay Lights (which is, I’m just saying, the week when Santa and Mrs. Claus come to town on a lobster boat… accompanied by elves, a life-size lobster, and (as of last year) Olaf the Snowman). It’s a whole week of spectacular holiday fun including…

A Christmas Lighted Boat Parade!

So, I don’t want to steal the Boothbay Register’s photo of last year’s parade so here is a link.

No, really, go look just to see the first pic.

See the first boat? That’s the Casey Anne.

She won last year, and do you see Santa?

He is waterskiing behind the lobster boat!

And guess what?!

THAT is the boat I got to help with during Windjammers and THAT is the boat I get to help with at Christmastime because my friend Rusty said I could and he is the Captain!

I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath because I know how exciting this is.

You good?

Okay. So.

My Prep Parade was the Windjammers Lighted Boat Parade and I was to be at the dock by 9:00 to help.

Being the rookie, I had the very important job of Tape Distribution.

I took it very seriously.

See that tape right there, holding up the lights?

I distributed that.

Well, first, Captain Rusty cut that tape with a very sharp and dangerous knife that only experienced lobstermen can operate.

Then he told me to hold out my hand and I did.

Then he put pieces of tape on my individual fingers, avoiding the thumbs because boat decorating requires the use of opposable thumbs (so you don’t want them to stick to the rest of your fingers).

I would then hold my hands out or up or sideways so that Catherine, who was the Head of Decorating, could access the tape. Catherine was climbing all over the boat with strands and strands of lights. She was very spry and had the balance of an Olympic-level gymnast combined with one of those freaky sure-footed mountain goats.

I like her a lot, mostly because she was very encouraging when it came to my tape dispensing abilities.

Then, Eben – who is also Casey Anne’s Captain sometimes – showed up but he was too hot to get to work immediately so he jumped right off the dock and into the Atlantic Ocean.

I vocalized something about the water being, like, 57 degrees, but Eben – apparently experienced not only in lighted boat decor but also hypothermic avoidance – quickly put my fears at rest by saying, calmly:

“This is Maine.”

This seemed like a fair explanation to me. Plus he didn’t die so… point to Eben.

And then a new friend, Deborah, showed up and it was clear that she had a wicked lot of experience in the lighted boat preparation arena, so I was happy to hand her my tape too. And many hands – well, really, I was just using my fingers – made light work and the generator was in place for the evening and Captain Rusty and Captain Eben agreed we should meet – with a whole bunch of other folks (because we needed them for waving and whooping and light stick holding duty) – at the dock at 8:30 p.m.

So we did!

And the sky looked like this…

And the lights were turned on and looked like this…

And then Catherine’s Dad – who has tons of experience in lighted boat parading – said it was okay to plug the ‘surprise’ into the generator and then there were blow-up pirates above us as we got in line to motor into the harbor!

They looked like this:

And there were about 20 people aboard and we all waved and cheered and generally encouraged good vibes to loads of people who assembled on hotel balconies, and docks, and piers, and restaurant decks all around as the parade slid through Boothbay Harbor. We even had a cannon, manned by Crew Member Jim who shouted “Fire in the Hole!” just before he set it off each time (sending those close to him into an ear-blocking frenzy).

Also, there was drama!

After our first round through the harbor, our boat suddenly went dark!

First there was a lot of scrambling and then Captain Eben was on it. He was climbing and hopping and jumping and checking. All could have been lost. But, just as we were coming up to the judges, the whole boat lit up again!

The other boats blew their horns and their crews hooted and hollered their support.

It was awesome.

And you know what?

I just realized that I have no idea who even won for best decorated boat this year.

I just know we motored toward the dock, and it took a while for any of us to leave.

We all hung for a few, toasted The Captains, and each other, and the boat… and eventually headed out into the night.

And that was just my Practice Parade!


Cannot wait.

For December.

Thanks for readin’.

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