By Sharon Still

For more than three decades, boats adorned with lights and festive decorations have paraded down the Alafia River for the community’s annual holiday boat parade. This year, the 34th Annual Alafia Lighted Boat Parade and Chili Cook-Off will kick-off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 2 at the Riverview Civic Center on Park Rd.

The parade of lighted boats will start at the 301 bridge at 5:30 pm and will continue past the Civic Center to “The Diddy” and then back past the Civic Center ending at River’s Edge Bar and Grill where the VIP after party and awards ceremony for the best decorated boats will be held.

Families are invited to the Riverview Civic Center from 5-8 p.m. to enjoy the parade, sample some chili and vote for your favorite at the Chili Cook-Off and pose for photos with Santa. There will be entertainment, a 50/50 raffle to benefit county parks, hot dogs, refreshments and fun for all. There is a $5 donation to taste the chili.

“It is always a fun time and kind of kicks off the holiday season for us,” says Lisa Felice of Brandon who brings her grandkids every year.

Presented by the Rotary Club of FishHawk-Riverview, proceeds from the event will fund the charitable activities of the club including raising money for the Clean Water and Sanitation Project in Honduras to provide water filtration and latrine systems to the indigenous peoples of that country that do not have safe drinking water or sanitation. Proceeds also will be allotted to local charitable activities.

There are several levels of sponsorship available and area boaters are encouraged to join the fun by decorating their boats and participating in the parade. Those who want to compete are asked to donate $25, although boaters do not have to compete to participate.

If you are interested in participating in the Boat Parade this year, contact Mike Broussard at  For more information, contact Dr. Kim Tyson at or visit

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