Sunday, October 8, 2017

Photo essay: First ever Milwaukee boat parade

A lucky few got to witness firsthand on Saturday Milwaukee's first ever boat parade. If you were not among them then here you have it. Not as good as the real thing, but it'll give you a flavor. The event, which was billed as a first annual, was sponsored by Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Harbor District, Inc. and was held in conjunction with the annual Harbor Fest, which took place on Greenfield Avenue in front of the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences. Participating boaters were invited to decorate their boats and compete for prizes in two categories: paddle boats and motor or sail boats. The Milwaukee Riverkeeper boat (above) began at Lakefront Brewery, near the Holton Street Bridge on the Milwaukee River. It proceeded downstream, picking up boats along the way.

No, the cruise ships did not join the parade. The kayak did.

In addition to the large elephant (complete with squirting trunk) and human figures, this boat had a large band playing lively tunes.

This boat didn't win an award (I'm guessing it was hosted by one of the sponsoring organizations, which were ineligible) but it was my personal favorite. In case it isn't clear in the photos, the "fish" are fishing for humans!

The pirate canoe in the foreground won second place in the paddler category.
Wearing the banana costume in the shark kayak is Johnny Waldschmidt, who received the first place award in the paddler category.

Kudos to all who participated. If you're a boat owner, watch for next year's boat parade! 

Full disclosure: I am a former board member of Milwaukee Riverkeeper and the current artist in residence for the Harbor District, Inc.

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