By Bryce Abshier – Contact Bryce@TheVOSM.net
Many in South Marion are gearing up for a dazzling light display that will soon take place on Lake Weir. The twelfth annual “Light Up Lake Weir”, an event featuring an impressively festive holiday boat parade, will take place on Saturday, December 2. This event is presented by the Lake Weir Yacht Club.
The festivities will begin with a pre-parade festival at 10:00 am at Lake Weir Carney Island Park, located at 13275 SE 115th Ave, in Ocklawaha. Guests can enjoy raffles, live music, a singing Santa Claus, face painting, and an appearance by 93.7 K Country’s “Big Red” from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. The parade vessel launch is scheduled for 5:30 pm. Boat Parade spectators can take in the incredible holiday sights at either Gator Joe’s Beach Bar & Grill or Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Grill. This is described as the perfect event for the entire family.
For those interested in displaying their holiday dazzled vessel, there is still time. Boats may enter the parade for a $35 fee. For more information, call 321-432-1292.
Karey Yarborough, Holiday Boat Parade Chair 2023, along with her husband Spencer, have long been admirers of the annual boat parade on Lake Weir. “This is my husband Spencer and I’s third year chairing the Holiday Boat Parade,” said Yarborough. “Prior to joining the Yacht Club, we always watched the Boat Parade at my mother-in-law’s home on Lake Weir. We always wanted to be play a bigger part in the Parade.”
Karey and Spencer have been members of the Yacht Club for 4 years. Spencer grew up visiting his Grandmother at Lake Weir during Summer breaks.
At a parade in previous years, the Yarboroughs set a record for parade entries at 35 boats. This year, they hope to break that record and feature even more entries. Luckily for those in attendance, boat parade participants continue to up the ante with even more festive displays each year.
When thinking back on past years, Karey Yarborough recalled some of her favorite entries. “Some boat participants select a movie theme to mirror. One that comes to mind from two years ago was the “Frozen” theme boat mirrored from the movie. Everyone on the boat was dressed up in the most amazing costumes,” Karey explained. “They even had a recording of the song from the movie “Let It Go” that played throughout the entire trip around the Lake.” She also recalled another elaborate entry that was made to look like a train. “There was one call the ‘Orient Express’ that was built to look like a passenger train,” said Yarborough
The Yarboroughs have many favorite things about the parade. “We get very passionate as we raise money prior to the Boat Parade mainly through getting sponsorships,” Karey explained.
“This way the Yacht Club can contribute a portion of our proceeds to the Community of Gratitude (Ocklawaha Food Bank). It is a wonderful feeling to give back to the Community. This year we had a STELLAR 31 Sponsors.”
“We have also been trying to build on this event creating excitement along with community unity. Not to mention the Boat Parade itself. All the boat participants do an amazing job creating the boat decorating themes as well as dressing up in costumes. A magical time for all!”
The generous Boat Parade sponsors for 2023 include Gator Joe’s Beach Bar & Grill, Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Grill, Transition Watersports, Sellstate Superior Realty, Freedom Title And Escrow Company, The Mortgage Firm – Greg Meyer Altamonte Springs, Edward Jones – Luke Emerson – Spanish Springs, Florida Blue Cross Medicare, Millers Marine, County Line Smokehouse & Spirits, The Anchor On Sunset Harbor, Family’s Choice Electrical Repair, Inc, Crossties Of Ocala, Ocala Heating & Air Conditioning, Doc’s Restorations, Cafe’ Lucia, Lake Weir, Chad’s Water Works Plumbing, Deluca Toyota, State Farm – Bradley Blessing, Bassett Premier Realty, Inc, Benson And Bowyer Property Services, HD Print & Marketing, B-J Trophies & Awards, Clifford Insurance Center, Slay’s Restoration, Luxury Diamond Company, Belleview Ace Hardware, Villa Pinar Cuban Cafeteria, Kling Painting, Inc, Kling Towing & Recovery, and 93.7 K Country.