Mitchell parade set for Saturday

Published 7:35 pm Thursday, July 2, 2009

In 1977, a Fourth of July tradition was born — the Lake Mitchell boat parade.

Since then the parade has become a popular event, drawing dozens of boats and hundreds of spectators annually, and this year looks to be no exception.

A pontoon boat parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and will travel by Higgins Ferry Park. A speedboat parade will follow at 2 p.m. and will be in the Blue Creek area.

Anita Lawson, president of the Home Owners and Boat Owners Association, said spending the holiday on the lake helps bring neighbors together.

“Everybody’s got something in common,” Lawson said. “They all love the water and the boating.”

In addition to the two boat parades, there will also be a 20-minute fireworks display at 9 p.m. over the Cargile Creek area.

Jim McCormick, the fireworks show coordinator, said he and others began preparing for the show in February, when they began acquiring permits.

McCormick said experiencing a fireworks show over the lake is unique.

“On the lake, what’s so exciting about it, for me anyways, is watching all the green and red lights of the boats,” McCormick said.

McCormick said the reflectivity of the water adds to the experience.

“It’s like having it over a mirror,” McCormick said.

But the visuals are not the only element that is enhanced by having the show on the lake-the sound also receives a boost.

“The water’s in the valley,” McCormick said. “You get the reverberation from the hills.”

McCormick has been putting on a fireworks display over Lake Mitchell for the past 21 years and has seen it grow through the years.

“We started out just as a family thing, buying them at your roadside vendor,” McCormick said.

But now McCormick acquires an ATF license and orders his supplies.

McCormick uses mortars to launch the fireworks, which are synched with music. McCormick and other volunteers wire the fireworks electronically and float them out on a barge before they are set off. But putting on a dazzling show is not a one-man job. McCormick said the efforts of many people make it possible.

Spectators can go to the Grace’s Marina area.