The 19th Annual Christmas Holiday Parade of Boats was held last Sunday along the Patchogue riverfront.
This year's theme was the "River of Misfit Toys" and was judged by Jacqueline Hensley, president of the Patchogue Chamber of Commerce), Dennis Smith, executive director of the Patchogue Village Business Improvement District), Suffolk County Legis. Rob Calarco, Brookhaven supervisor-elect Ed Romaine and Assemblyman-elect Ed Hennessey.
"This year was very exciting," Hensley said. "I cannot believe how much work everyone puts into doing it. It's a great way to get everyone into the spirit of the holidays.
Smith noted: "These people put a lot of effort into putting this together. It's a tradition in Patchogue now and looking at the crowd, people obviously look forward to coming back year after year."
This year's winners were For My Girls for "Best Lights", Hampton House for "Best Sound" and Dublin Debt for "Best in Theme".
The People's Choice Award was chosen on Saturday evening. Voters could attend preview parties at the Off Key Tikki, the Oar or the Harbor Crab Restaurant while walking around and viewing the participating boats. A free ferry service was also being run between the three locations. This year's winner was the Warlock, captained by Matt McMillian. It was also chosen as the winner of "Best Overall."
"It's really awesome that we got this parade off this year considering Hurricane Sandy. It was rather questionable just a few weeks ago. Just goes to show though that shore people are hardy people," said David Kennedy, a member of the Patchogue Riverfront Commitee. "It's a great celebration to show that everything's back to normal."
Spectators enjoyed live music at Sandspit Park while waiting for the parade to begin. Santa Claus arrived on the last boat of the parade and handed out candy canes to all the children before kicking off the afterparties along the riverfront.