GOODLAND — The theme of this year’s Goodland Boat Parade was “Broadway Musicals,” but the event on Saturday will be remembered most for the boats “Blowin’ in the Wind.” The stiff breeze, with gusts up to approximately 30 knots, posed a real challenge for the skippers of the 14 vessels entered in the parade, even without the spectator boats that insisted on blundering into the their path.
As boats entered the basin to pass by the crowd of spectators waiting at Stan’s and the Little Bar, they were making more leeway than forward progress. The row of flags at the Old Marco Lodge blew straight out in a line. Aboard John Ritchie’s entry “Mary Poppins,” Laurie Ritchie, portraying Mary Poppins, kept her umbrella folded, a wise choice, as she would otherwise likely have launched into the air in a too-faithful rendition of her character.
Of the 14 boats, no fewer than three went with “Hair” as their musical of choice. Apparently, there are a lot of old hippies hanging around Goodland, although this will hardly come as a shock to anyone who has spent time in the “drinking village with a fishing problem.”
“Hey, this is Goodland,” commented parade organizer Elaine Ritchie, noting that all of the “Hair boats” (not to be confused with hair bands) were local Goodland folks, if you include her brother Paul Ritchie, who came down from Pennsylvania and entered a boat loaned by Coon Key Marina. The marina also loaned a boat to Mike Barbush, who goes out every year and sells T-shirts to the spectator fleet, after his boat developed mechanical trouble.
With the brisk wind this year, that fleet was sparser than previously, and shirt sales suffered, both there and on shore, said Elaine, but the proceeds from the parade, all of which are donated to Avow Hospice, were up, for which she credited Amy Bozicnik.
Amy, co-owner of the Little Bar, conceived the idea of doing a 50/50 raffle ahead of the event, which grossed $5,000 in ticket sales. One of Amy’s 40 tickets was the winner, and, showing she has a big heart as well as a shrewd mind, she donated her $2,500 winnings back to the cause. This was also true of the co-winners of the parade, who each scored 82 points out of a possible 90 in a tie for first place.
The winners, Chuck Thomas of Marco, with his “Lion King” theme, and Goodland residents Jack Miller and Vicki Wood acting out “South Pacific,” donated back their prizes, a two-night stay at the Marco Hilton and a $100 gift certificate to Café de Marco, to be raffled off. So, with a little help from their friends, the parade raised $18,000 for Avow Hospice, beating last year’s $17,000 tally.
Second place was also a tie, between Rob Reiley in “Grease,” one of two “Grease”-themed boats, and “Mary Poppins.” Third place went to Mark Diefenthaler of Goodland, in the first “Hair” entry, which like the others was well-supplied with flowing locks, tie-dye and peace signs.
Dave Morrison of Marco had Peanuts characters acting as sails on his “Charlie Brown” entry, making it even harder to control in the wind, a problem faced by many of the boats. For the Love of Cats, of course, did “Cats,” skippered by Richard Roth of Goodland. Scott Sherwood of Goodland was the most up to date on his Broadway musicals, portraying the “Book of Mormon.”
JRobert entertained at the Goodland Boat Park, and the Mullet Brothers cranked out the classic rock at Stan’s.
“The boats were a blast great theme this year,” enthused Avow Hospice President and CEO Karen Rollins, thanking Ritchie, and her “family, friends, team of great volunteers,” and the businesses and people of Goodland for their support of Avow Hospice’s mission.
Next year’s parade is already scheduled, for Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, said Elaine Ritchie, with a simple theme comedy. To learn more about Avow Hospice, or make a post-parade donation, go to www.avowhospice.org.