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Pelican Lake celebrates Fourth of July with boat parade

PELICAN LAKE - Erupting volcanoes, pirates putting on sunscreen and a traditional military march were some of the scenes at this year's Pelican Lake boat parade.

Eight-year-old Kelsey Sparrow was one of the participants, wearing a blue grass skirt to match her family's Hawaiian vacation boat theme.

The parade's theme was "favorite vacation spot."

"We picked Hawaii, even though some of us have never been there," Kelsey Sparrow said to Todd Sparrow of Hawley.

"We picked the theme because we happened to have the palm trees," Todd Sparrow said. "We're Norwegian, so we could have picked Norway instead, but this was more summery."

The Sparrows' boat sported a large volcano complete with smoke at the front.

"We're using smokebombs that last only 16 seconds," Todd Sparrow said. "Very Fourth of July."

The Pelican Lake boat parade has a long history in the area.

Lance Johnson of Dilworth has been leading the parade with his classic wooden runabout since 1982.

"I keep the pace for the parade slow so it doesn't go by too fast," Johnson said, "There used to be nothing but speed boats, but the pontoons couldn't keep up."

Johnson lets the residents know the parade is coming by playing a CD of military marches.

"This sound system is so loud," Johnson said. "It gets everyone's attention."

There's more than attention at stake, as awards ranging from $150 to $300 go to the top three boats.

"The judges are placed randomly around the lake," said Jim Prondzinski, chairman of the parade. "This way the boats stay for the whole parade. The fun part of this really is getting everyone to dock together and looking at what they came up with."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Danielle Cintron at (701) 235-7311