Thousands celebrate Festival Parade of Boats

  • 2

SARASOTA-- The motto of this year's Festival Parade of Boats: Don't rain on my parade. Unfortunately, it did rain, pretty much throughout the entire event. Yet, it did not stop the thousands from coming out to view the boats and welcome back a hometown daredevil.

Fresh off his tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon, Nik Wallenda served as the parade's Grand Marshal. Wallenda, and his wife, rode in a green, Ford Mustang Convertible. Wallenda, who is from Sarasota, currently resides in Bradenton.

"Can't believe it rained on my parade. Had an awesome time Sarasota! Thanks for coming out and the welcome home," said Wallenda on Twitter Friday night.

Wallenda's fans were out in full force.

"My favorite part was seeing Nik Wallenda," said a young man named Bryce. "He is awesome. It was pretty cool."

"We love Nik! It was awesome to see him. Our hometown boy," said Kathy Shanley or Sarasota.

Wallenda was joined by more than 60 displays, including 30 boats participating in this weekend's offshore grand prix race.

"We come down all the time for every parade in Sarasota or Bradenton. We are big parade fans," said Doreen Ierardi of Manatee County.

This parade also serves as an annual tradition for many families.

"It has been a tradition since I was a kid. We moved here in 1990. I have been coming here ever since. I'm now passing it along to my children," said Garrett Shaffer of Sarasota.

A block party on North Lemon Avenue was also held during the parade.