More than 7,000 people turned out for the Lake Zurich Boat Parade this year. While Paulus Park was hosting its Fourth of July celebration, the Lake Zurich Property Owners Association was busy getting ready for the 15th Annual Boat Parade.
Bonnie Caputo, Lake Zurich's recreation manager said, "The day was just perfect! We had both parks and the spray park open. There were food vendors and inflatable rides for the kids. Families brought picnics and enjoyed the lake, it was a beautiful day."
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Local bands Sataline Band and Aunt Janet played at the park and Scotty Hicks was DJ for the day. Huge crowds gathered for the fireworks in both parks.
Shortly before the fireworks began, the boat parade kicked off. Fierce competition stirred Lake Zurich as the battle for the first-place traveling paddle ensued.
First place went to the Alo family. They made a 12-foot Godzilla that spit water and did doughnuts. Their theme was "Big, Wet and Loud," and it was. Congratulations to the Alo family who received the coveted Traveling Paddle.
Second place was awarded to the Gustafson family with the theme "Under The Sea." Their float featured an enormous 9-foot octopus and dozens of sea creatures.
Third place went to the Hessel family with their rendition of "2014 World Cup Soccer in Brazil." Fourth place went to the Mongue family with "A Whale Of A Time On The Fourth of July." Their boat was turned into a 15-foot whale and had a real mermaid.
Suzi Mongue (last year's winner) passed the traveling paddle to Lindy Alo at the LZ Farmers Market music tent.
"My family comes in from all over the US to celebrate the Fourth in Lake Zurich," she said. "We have a big family reunion and have made many memories while decorating our boats and preparing our costumes. Eight years and counting"
Other participants included: The Tuode family made "Tribute to the Red Solo Cup"; the Miller family made a fantastic 24-foot "Yellow Submarine" and played Beatles while dressed in tie-dyes; the Petruccione family float was golf-themed and called "Hit It Here," and spectators could actually hit golf balls onto the float; the Sennott family made a "Duck Dynasty" float; the Mohn family had the "Madd Hatter's Tea Party"; the Gannon family was ready for the Fourth in their "Red, White, and Blue"; the Finn family were "All American" and showing their pride; the Griffith/Gray family had the theme "Butterflies are Free -- America Earned It" with a 30-foot butterfly; and last but not least was the Subich family who paraded around the lake in a fully-restored and seaworthy 1964 Woody.
Kristine Griffith commented on the sense of community even in the midst of the fierce competition: "Our neighbors have been the family to beat for the last few years. This year the parade was about to begin and we were still working on getting our 27-foot butterfly wings down to the beach. Two of our neighbors' relatives didn't hesitate to help out. They not only helped us carry the wings down but also missed riding on their float. They both stayed and helped until we could attach at least one wing to our boat, albeit backward. If it wasn't for Harry and Kevin we would have just been a big butterfly carcass."
Thanks go to the announcer John Leahy who entertained the crowd at the promenade, and to the judges: Trustee Jim and Debi Beaudoin; Lake County Board Representative Craig Taylor and his wife Pam Taylor; Sharon Janke; Heather Pagh; Jennifer Strybel and Leslie Dwyer.
A special thanks to sponsors: Lake Zurich Goodyear, Tacos El Norte, Beelow's Steakhouse, Orchard Prime Meats, Chaser's Sports Bar & Grill, Culver's of Lake Zurich, D & J Bistro, ZaZa's Tavola Italiana of Lake Barrington, Giordano's, JJ Twig's, Koffee Kup Restaurant, Lake Zurich Park and Rec. Dept., Diamond Fresh Seafood Market and Café, True Value Hardware, SAKE sushi and grill and Signscapes.
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