Riverlights 2014 Housatonic Boat Parade
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Stratford, CT

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The 7th Annual Housatonic Riverlights Boat Parade was held on September 20th, and restaurants, parking lots and docks were filled with spectators to watch it.  The event launched at the Route 1/I-95 bridges and traveled down river to Knapps Landing Restaurant in Stratford.

Fifteen boats participated this year, all decorated as floats upon the river with hundreds or thousands of lights.  Some of the most popular designs included a boat decorated as a fire engine, a shark, an airplane, and a bicycle.  Some even had music to enhance the festivities.  Lyn McCarthy of St. Vincent's Foundation stated, "The boats were incredibly creative, and everyone along the docks truly enjoyed them as the came down the river."

Volunteers sold T-shirts and collected donations from the spectators along the shore.  The parade is estimated to have raised approximately $15,000 for the SWIM Across the Sound Cancer Programs.
The Riverlights Committee has raised over $53,000 for SWIM Across the Sound since the inaugural event in 2008.

Spearheaded by members of Milford’s Valley Yacht Club, the Riverlights Boat Parade is the first river-wide event to encourage interclub involvement and participation while generating community interest. By raising money for St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound, the event provides boaters with the opportunity to give back to the people of the surrounding towns while enjoying a uniquely beautiful experience.

As many as twenty boats, decorated in lights and airing music of various themes,  slowly paraded down the river to the reviewing stand located where they were judged by a panel consisting of local dignitaries. The parade continued to Knapp’s Landing where the boats turned around and headed slowly back to their home ports.

All proceeds from entries and sponsor fees were donated to St Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound. Best viewing locations were the various shoreline restaurants and public river access areas in Stratford. Lumis, Riverview Bistro, Outriggers Restaurant and Knapps Landing are official riverside viewing areas.

This years Riverlights Boat Parade panel of judges included:  Lyn Fine-McCarthy, Executive Director of St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation, Pat Dowler, Diana Yates Toman and special guests.

Visit the   Riverlights Boat Parade website to view photos of the event or for more information, or contact Jim Manzolli of the Commodore, Valley Yacht Club at (203) 377-6119 or email at commanche327@snet.net