A sky view of hundreds of boats on a blue water lake.

A scene from a recent Great American Boat Parade.

Remember to register for this year’s Great American Boat Parade on Saturday, May 18. With a new route, two concerts and new beneficiaries, the event begins at the entrance to Balus Creek and ends at Margaritaville.

“We’re anticipating excellent participation this year, hoping to surpass previous year’s registration,” said John Gunther, committee chair. “Several local first responders will be the recipients of funds raised; we’re working with several local law-enforcement groups to identify them and they’ll  be announced closer to the event.”

Organizers have added two concerts at Margaritaville as part of the afternoon’s festivities.

“Pandora’s Box, an Aerosmith cover band, and Back in Black, an AC/DC cover band will entertain from the floating stage.”

The line-up area has been moved, beginning at 11 a.m. at the entrance of Balus Creek just south of Brown’s Bridge. “Not only does this give the boats a place to wait for other participants, we’re asking that as boats arrive they circle around the island and join the rear of the gathering,” Gunther said.

The event will begin at noon.

Gunther said the pacing for the parade is approximately 5 to 6 knots south through the main channel to the dam. The parade will then head to Margaritaville.

“We anticipate arriving at Margaritaville around 3:30 p.m. to give people plenty of time to dock and get to the beach if they want to be on land for the concerts,” he said. “There are over 200 slips available at Margaritaville, once those are filled or if people don’t want to tie up to the docks there is room for a couple thousand boats in the cove before you get into the channel.”

The Great American Boat Parade, a 501 (c) 3, began on Lake Lanier in 2020. The first year it drew nearly 3,500 boats.

Registration is $35 per boat.

“The excitement level has been incredible,” Gunther said. “Of course, there are some that want to make this political and have tried to spin the nature of the day away from just being Americans and giving back to our community. We encourage everyone to make sure to display the American flag over any other flag they choose to fly.”

He said that the event will be an “epic family event to display patriotism and appreciation for those who protect the freedoms we enjoy; to show local first responders that we want to help take care of them in a time of need; and to show the lake community that we can all come together to enjoy a day on the lake to celebrate our great country.”

For more information, visit the Great American Boat Parade Facebook page.