BELGRADE LAKES — Despite being held a day after the Fourth of July, about a dozen boaters still took part in the annual boat parade Saturday on Mill Stream, motoring from a boat launch on Great Pond to the dam in Belgrade Lakes village.

The event — along with fireworks, a street parade and other Independence Day activities — was supposed to have happened Friday, but heavy rain Friday night into Saturday forced organizers to postpone it a day. The Belgrade fireworks rescheduled for Saturday night were postponed until Sunday because of strong wind, and the street parade was canceled.

Several of the boats in Saturday’s parade were antique watercraft, and nearly a dozen people watched the boat parade from the lawn of an antique boat show hosted by Brightside Wooden Boat Services.

Shawn Grant, an organizer of the events and owner of the boat company, said usually 70 to 100 boats take part in the parade, but the postponement and the windy, overcast weather probably kept many away this year.

Grant, who restores, stores and rents boats at his business on Hulin Road, which parallels Mill Stream, piloted a 1960 Chris-Craft Ski Skiff he had just restored. He put the 23-foot wooden boat into the water for the first time a week ago, he said.

“This was a rotting-out mess when it arrived here 14 to 18 months ago,” he said.

The antique boats in the parade were popular among those watching it from Brightside. Grant said the older boats, such as the wooden Chris-Crafts, are beloved because people often have memories of parents or other family members owning them years ago. Sometimes people will spend significantly more to restore a boat than it’s worth in the end because of the sentimental value of a particular craft, he said. Grant said it took 700 to 750 hours to restore the 1960 boat he used in the parade.

“Everyone over 40 remembers one from their youth,” Grant said of the wooden Chris-Crafts. “We take people on trips down memory lane.”

Rick Taylor, 55, of New Sharon, who watched the boat parade with his wife, Alicia, said he remembers his grandfather taking him out on a Chris-Craft boat 50 years ago. His father and uncles also owned wooden boats, he said.

“Less than usual, but at least there were some,” Taylor said of the parade. “I like the old boats; brings back a lot of memories.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig


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