And the winner is ...
The top prize winner of The Islander Lighted Holiday Boat Parade is Everything Under the Sun Garden Center owners Nicole Heslop and Jon Westergard. Their boat "It's Only Money" was decorated with a flashy pink "moving" flamingo, green and gold palm trees, loads of lights and twinkling snowflakes and lots of folks aboard having a great time, prompting judges to declare it a "Florida Christmas."
Judging the event were Nancy Ambrose and Paul Roat of The Islander, Nancy's husband David and dad, Doc Walker, CD Dashiell of CD's Nails on the Island salon and Kevin Shonkwiler of Jess Jewelers of Bradenton.
Running an absolutely close second with the judges was Jerry McKee's "Evolution III." It sparkled with what appeared to be thousands of lights and a bouncing, dancing crowd that included Mickey Mouse.
Other participants, including the "Cuzen Bill," Earl Eitchie's 33-foot sailboat with twinkling lights from top to bottom, Jim Humes "Down Time" and George Glaser's "Mystic Dolphin," entertained large crowds at the grand canal end by Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and on the Anna Maria City Pier and Rod & Reel Pier.
Co-sponsor of the event with The Islander, the Anna Maria City Pier, donated gift certificates, as did Mama Lo's and the Chiles group, the Sandbar, BeachHouse and Mar Vista restaurants.