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For the past 11 years, the Isles of Capri Christmas Boat Parade has been one of the most cherished events of the season. There is never a dull moment, and the ingenuity and beauty participants create are a sight to behold.

“I wonder what they will come up with this year?” is a common question among residents who have been around for past parades. On Saturday, Dec. 5, at dusk, viewers will get their answer.

Captains Nancy Anderson and Otis Tavlin will coordinate the parade again this year. Captains and their crews will gather in Snook Bay behind the Capri Marina prior to beginning the parade at dusk. As in the past, captains and their crews will be treated to free pizza before their voyage. This year, Uncle Micky (Mike Castellano) will be the provider from his new pizza and ice cream deli, formerly the Island Market. In the past, Jerry Alajajian, owner of the Island Gypsy Café, has done the honors, but this year a private party booked his restaurant on that date, and he had to relinquish his kind and generous offers of the past.

There will most definitely be festive lights, music, animation, dazzle, excitement and exuberant crews to wish all a Merry Christmas as they meander through the waterways down the Marco River and around Capri’s surrounding bays. It is hoped, as has been the case in the past, that spectators will cheer them on, clap, ring bells, flash lights, and shout “Thank You” and “Merry Christmas,” as the parade passes in review.

Joins Marco parade – briefly

The parade route will have a slightly different twist this year as the Marco Island Boat Parade and the Isles of Capri Boat Parades will join one another for a brief dance during their promenade in the Marco River before continuing on, following their usual respective routes.

Capri co-ordinators Tavlin and Anderson, and Steve Stefanides, Marco Island Boat Parade chairman, agreed that the two together would provide a larger parade for spectators from both islands. Waterway depths and times of tides limit the length of the course that they could remain together.

Potential spectators and boat crews alike are wondering just what challenges the 12th annual parade will bring. There have been so many funny, and even harried incidents in past parades, it would be a challenge to write about them in a book.

Some of the most memorable turns of events happened to a few creative parade crew members who have now developed a reputation for coming up with some of the most bizarre boat themes and unusual animation.

Boating is not new to Anderson and Tavlin, whose 40 foot multi-hull ocean-going sailboat Thunderbird earned the title “Best in Parade” in both the Isles of Capri and Marco Island Christmas Boat Parades in 2014. Tavlin has more than 50 years sailing experience, and Anderson has been sailing since she was 10 years old. They now run a pleasure-trip charter service, where their sailboat is moored behind the Blue Heron Restaurant on the Isles of Capri. The two are deemed “naturals” to coordinate the annual Isles of Capri Parades. The parade is open to anyone who wants to participate. To register, phone 239-776-5757 or email info@thunderbirdsailing.com.

Contact Ann Hall at ahall7911@coconuttele.net

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