A houseboat on Lake Lanier with top covered in the American Flag during the 2024 Great American Boat Parade on Lake Lanier.

Some 500 boats braved the weather forecast for the 2024 Great American Boat Parade.

The weather forecasters called the shots – wrongly – for The Great American Boat Parade on Saturday, May 18. While 500 boats showed up for the event, organizers heard from many boaters who were discouraged by the week’s constant predictions of storms and heavy rain.

“The weather forecast was terrible, but the weather turned out to be fine,” said John Gunter, committee chair of the annual event. “I heard from so many people all week who asked if there would be a rain date and I had to tell them no. Our permit was only for Saturday.”

In spite of the forecast, the event took place as planned: the parade with approximately 500 boats on the water, plus concerts, check presentations and fireworks. Both bands – Pandora’s Box, an Aerosmith cover band, and Back in Black, an AC/DC cover band – performed from the stage at Margaritaville. Check presentations were made to the Hall County Sheriff’s Department and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s K-9 division.

BADGE, Benevolent Association Dedicated to Giving to Employees of Forsyth County Service Organizations Inc. also received a check. Founded in 2015, the independent, nonprofit organization fosters aid and the overall well-being to employees of Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department, Emergency Management/E911, and Cumming Police Department.

“About 1000 people showed up at the beach for the after-parade festivities including a spectacular fireworks show,” Gunter said. “We produced an event that would have easily been perfect for about 8,000 people. However, the people who did come got a private concert.”

For more information about The Great American Boat Parade, visit the group’s Facebook page or the group’s website: www.greatamericanboatparade.org to make a donation to help first responders.

Photo: by Jack Jeffery