Boat parade, other events go on despite soggy skies

MANATEE — The seventh-annual Cortez Yacht Club lighted boat parade went on as scheduled this evening despite rainy conditions most of the day.

The show also went on for the Winter Festival and Luminary Walk at DeSoto National Memorial Park and for Manatee County’s tour of lights.

But organizers of the Horseshoe Cove decorated golf cart parade decided to postpone their event until Sunday at 6 p.m.

"Yes, we're on, even if it sprinkles or rains," said Laura Ritter, one of the organizers of the lighted boat parade. "We're outdoor folks."

Boats will assemble in parade formation 6 p.m. today in the basin near Moore’s Stone Crab and Mar Vista restaurants on the north end of Longboat Key. A radio command for lighting of the fleet will start the procession shortly after 6, escorted by a Bradenton Beach Police boat to finish at the Seafood Shack Marina on the Intracoastal Waterway near the Cortez Bridge.

"We're expecting to come through the Cortez Bridge at 7 p.m.," Ritter said.

A prime viewing area is the Bradenton Beach City Pier at the east end of Bridge Street.

The Winter Festival and Luminary Walk at DeSoto National Memorial, 8300 DeSoto National Memorial Hwy., Bradenton, is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. today, featuring authentic 16th-century music in a historic luminary walk along the park’s natural trails. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission to the park is free.

Manatee County’s tour of lights is open to all ages. The bus tours begin at 6:45 p.m. today and Sunday. There are two pick-up points: State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W., Building 29, Bradenton, and the Manatee Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto.

Residents are asked to be there between 6 and 6:30 p.m. so the tour can start promptly. Though the tour is free, guests are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item. For more information, call 747-8621.

The Horseshoe Cove cart parade at 5100 60th St. E., is now rescheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday. The 50-cart parade will also make an appearance Monday at 6 p.m. at neighboring Pleasant Lakes Mobile Home Park. Then at 6 p.m. Wednesday the parade moves to Windmill Manor and Westwinds Mobile Home Park.