Boaters Work Hours To Bring Joy To Bridgewater Channel

Boaters Work Hours To Bring Joy To Bridgewater Channel
Jayne Hanson / 03 Dec 2016 / No Comments » Comments

It’s a labor of love for boaters when it comes to the man hours associated with preparing a float for the annual Parade or Lights in Lake Havasu City. This year’s theme is “Bright Ideas” and those participating are sure to deliver.

“We like to help London Bridge Yacht Club out because they always help us, it’s nice to be able to give back to them,” said Havasu resident Heather Courneya, Denise’s Day coordinator.

Rick Powell/RiverScene

The Denise’s Day boat participates in the Boat Parade of Lights Saturday evening. Rick Powell/RiverScene

It’s the third year for this float and its theme of all-pink lights. Denise’s Day organizers said the parade is another fun way to engage with the community and raise awareness about their cause.

“There aren’t many hot pink boats in the Channel,” said Denise’s Day coordinator Kyle Springman, of Havasu.

“We try to be as bright as possible,” Courneya said. “This year, our lights dance to our music.”

The crew has been working to prepare the Denise’s Day parade entry for six weeks.

Last year, the Denise’s Day was won Judge’s Choice. Their first year, in 2014, the group won Best First-time entry.

Tom Askland, of Havasu, said as many at 10 sail boats will be strung together with 15-foot lines. The recognizable entry is on-again, off-again when it comes to participation but they’ve been involved for many years overall.

“It’s just fun to do,” Askland said. “The people really enjoy the sailboats.”

Parade preparation takes between six and eight hours, he said.

THE ELKS – No. 10
The Elks Lodge #2399 in Havasu also has been involved through the years when it comes to the parade.

The Elks boat rides through the Channel during the Boat Parade of Lights. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

The Elks boat rides through the Channel during the Boat Parade of Lights. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

This year is Havasu resident Doug Dulin’s first year, and, he’ll spend it at the helm. The parade float’s theme is “Peace on Earth” and includes a 52-inch globe of the Earth hanging from the top.

“There are 300 man hours from start to finish, that’s everything,” Dulin said.

Crew members involved in the project include Havasu residents Doug Blum when it comes to the carpentry and electrical engineering, and Mark Witczak and Barney Tumey.

“We wanted to make everyone aware of how much charity the Elks do in the community here,” Dulin said of why they choose to participate in the annual boat parade. “There isn’t a week that goes by that we aren’t handing somebody money.”

TINY TOOT – No. 17
Team Thompson, or Bob and Kathy Thompson, of Havasu, have entered their 23-foot toy tugboat-themed float for seven consecutive years. The crowd-pleaser originated when “Toys on Parade” was the theme because it was the Thompson’s first year as parade participants.

 Tiny Toot rides through the Channel during the Boat Parade of Lights. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Tiny Toot rides through the Channel during the Boat Parade of Lights. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

“It’s a child’s tugboat on steroids,” Bob Thompson said. “We improve on it every year. Last year, we added the flag. Two years ago, it was the turning key. Another year, it was the smoking stacks. This year, we added more lights.”

For years, the Thompsons traveled from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., for the specific reason of attending the Parade of Lights. Each time, they stayed in their Havasu vacation home. Bob’s dream was to move here permanently, and his first order of business was to be part of the boat parade.

“We like being part of the community, and, it’s part of the silliness and part of being a citizen of Havasu,” Bob said.

The first year it was entered, the tugboat won Commodore’s Choice. The second year it was entered, it won Best of Show. Since, each year the Thompson’s request not to be judged in competition because they think it’s fun to see other entries net those honors. And, they know their tugboat is a crowd favorite. So, they do it for them.

The first-year entry took six weeks for Team Thompson to pull it together. Today, the float takes two days to put together, and two days to take apart. The panels are ordered by an alphabet system, which saves the sanity of all involved.

“Each year it gets a bit easier,” Kathy said.

The Lake Havasu Sea Scouts theme is “The Lamp,” inspired by the holiday movie mainstay, “A Christmas Story.” The notorious leg lamp will be lit up in Bridgewater Channel throughout the holiday season even after the parade, with permission of London Bridge Resort.

“We like to support the community,” said Kathy Weydig, of Sea Scouts. “We’ll leave the boat lit in the marina. Cal (Sheehy) lets us leave it there.”

The resort provides Sea Scouts a boat slip, situated in the mini-marina of the hotel, throughout the year. It is here the leg-lamp will be illuminated for all to see.

The Sea Scouts youth group worked about five days to create the large lampshade and a huge, cardboard high-heeled shoe.

This year’s boat parade was a condensed version Friday night as high wind advisories plagued Lake Havasu. The wind created unsafe conditions for many parade entrants and the contraptions affixed to their watercrafts. Only 15 of the 42 parade entrants participated Friday.

Winds slowed Saturday, allowing the parade to go on as usual. Every year, the boats stage in Thompson Bay and travel Bridgewater Channel to the delight of thousands lining the shores there.

 Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

As is posted on, here is an inclusive list of this year’s parade entries:

Havasu Landing Resort & Casino
London Bridge Yacht Club
John & Bonnie View
Dan McGowan
Denise’s Day
Ken & Marilyn Young
Lynor Turner
Mark Farrar
Nick Nichols
Elks Yacht Club
A.J. Camou
Lake Havasu Yacht Club
Phil Hamner
Western Arizona Humane Society
Slide Anchor/Veterans United
Lake Havasu Divers Association
Team Thompson
River Medical, Inc.
River Scene Magazine
Truly Nolen
Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church Youth Group
The Nautical Beachfront Resort
Lewis Burke
Melanie Preston
Richard & Stephanie Reynolds
Ernie Lynd
Michael & Alisa Montero
Kory Boogren
The Lighthouse Club
Abundant Grace Church
Willie Seith
Robert McKeehan
Lake Havasu State Parks
Kerry Carrasco
Cattail Cove State Park
Mike Claytor
Don McPherson’s Sailboats
The Boat Brokers’ Santa and his sleigh
Gina Flores’ The Kayaks
Dale Berke’s The PWCs

Photo Gallery by Rick Powell:

Photo Gallery by Jillian Danielson:



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