A showing of 22 festively decorated boats, continued a Manatee County holiday tradition several years in the making. For Manatee County, the Annual Holiday Boat Parade always draws big crowds to the downtown areas of Bradenton and Palmetto. For 2017, a greater number of participants meant that the parade carried on from about 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. when the last boat named Arrk passed by PIER 22.
During the awards ceremony, Twin Dolphin Marina Manager and Holiday Boat Parade Committee member, Cynthia Belfatto said that she was delighted to see the number of vessels performing in the boat parade increase from about 17 to 22 and she expressed thanks to the many captains that took part in making the night a success.
Starting at dusk, December 10, 2016, a procession of festively decorated vessels made way from Snead Island then moved east past the Bradenton Yacht Club, proceeded to the Riverhouse Reef and Grill, then turned south at the Green Bridge and completed the parade at PIER 22. Captains competed for first place winner, second place winner, and third place winner in two vessel categories: under 40 feet and over 40 feet. The awards ceremony took place at Riverhouse Reef & Grill where the following captains and their boats were named champions:
In the over 40 feet category, Captain Heath Daughtry and vessel Yellowfin took first place. Second place went to Captain Eric Ramsey with vessel EW-WE II. Captain Gary Alderman with vessel Shacar was awarded third place. In the under 40 feet category, Captain Steve McNutt with vessel Down Under won first place. Second place went to Captain Gary Morgan with vessel Sassy. Third place went to Captain Layne Oslrander with vessel Snapper Addict II. Cash prizes ranged from $150- $500.
From the boaters performances to the cheering crowds at the many judging spots along the river, the winter holiday event is extremely interactive in nature. A special viewing party took place at PIER 22 where audience participation helped decide points for captains and their vessels. PIER 22 guest judges included Vice President of the Manatee Healthcare System, Vernon DeSear and Executive Editor & Vice President of the Bradenton Herald, Joan Krauter.
"It's a great privilege for PIER 22 to be able to take part in the way that our community celebrates the holiday season, and the parade is always a boatload of fun," said PIER 22 owner Hugh Miller.
About PIER 22
PIER 22 Restaurant, Patio & Catering is genuine Bradenton and sits directly on the beautiful Manatee River surrounded by the Twin Dolphin Marina. PIER 22 provides guests with scratch-cooked meals and authentic waterfront dining 365 days per year. From casual meals on the patio to upscale dining, PIER 22 offers a welcoming ambiance for all guests to enjoy. With rooms for every occasion, PIER 22 can accommodate your party or event with up to 300 guests.