For the 18th year, golf carts decked out in Christmas lights and decorations rolled down the streets of the Horseshoe Cove RV park as the sun set Sunday evening during the Annual Golf Cart Parade.
Some were as elaborate as a “Flintstones” car, a John Deere tractor or Santa’s sleigh, which leads the parade.
No matter what hung from or stood on the tops of the carts, they lit the way along the streets. Candy was thrown from some carts for small children to collect. More than anything, shouts of “Merry Christmas” could be heard over the hum of the line of carts playing Christmas music.
In past years, Helene Goetschius and her husband, Charlie, could often be found in their cart decorated as a firetruck. They’ve been participating in the parade since “the beginning,” she said, and have decorated their cart the same way every year.
That’s because Charlie spent decades as a firefighter in New York, Goetschius said. They’ve been living in Horseshoe Cove for about 30 years and look forward to the Golf Cart Parade every Christmas.
Sadly, their cart broke down last year and their new cart wasn’t ready in time for this year’s parade, but they still look forward to seeing their favorite and familiar carts along the way.
“It’s fun and we just keep adding (carts). I love it,” Goetschius said.
This year’s parade features at least 70 illuminated golf carts. It falls just short of the roughly 75 carts the parade had last year, but Dick Verzone still considers these numbers a success compared to the single three-wheeled bicycle he started the tradition with in 1995.
Now the Christmas Committee, along with wagon master Jim Loving, helps Verzone orchestrate the parade.
Verzone and his wife moved into the neighborhood in 1994 and have been featured in past parades as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. The golf cart turned sleigh that carries the Christmas couple has been in the making since 1995 as well. It started with the simple frame, but has grown to now include motorized reindeer, lights, a snow maker and a PA system.
For the last four years, John and Millie Edmond have been sitting atop the sleigh as Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
“The first year, it’s rather intimidating. The second year it’s a little less intimidating. The third year you relax a little, and now it’s just a wonderful opportunity,” John Edmond said.
What makes the occasion special, Edmond said, is the opportunity to do the parade three times for various communities. But for Verzone, it’s more about the people they see along the way.
“If you ride (in the parade) you can see people’s faces and you can’t beat that,” Verzone said. “It’s just a whole feeling that you get from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.”
Though they do receive some donations, the parade is primarily funded by residents of the park, who buy and decorate their carts at their own expense.
But the fun is not over yet; there are still two more parades to go. Those interested in watching the annual Golf Cart Parade can set up chairs along Caruso Road and State Road 70 on Thursday. The parade will roll out at 6 p.m.
The parade route will also go through Harborage, Westwinds Mobile Home Park and Windmill Mobile Home Park.
18th Annual Golf Cart Parade
Tuesday, 6 p.m. — Pleasant Lake Mobile Home Park
Thursday, 6 p.m. — Caruso Road and State Road 70, Harborage, Westwinds Mobile Home Park and Windmill Mobile Home Park.
For more information call: 941-751-3450.