The 2019 winner of the Parade of Lights on the Clinton River.

The 2019 winner of the Parade of Lights on the Clinton River.

Photo provided by Julie Angst

Lights will shine on Clinton River Aug. 7

Boat parade raises money for local charity

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 26, 2021


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The surface of the water will reflect the glowing lights of dozens of boats as they take to the Clinton River again this summer for the annual Harrison Township Parade of Lights.

Presented for the seventh year by Lambrecht Marina, 31300 North River Road, the community event raises money for a local charity while providing a fun and enjoyable atmosphere on the water for participants, residents and viewers. This year’s parade will begin at 9 p.m. Aug. 7, proceeding from Lambrecht Marina to Bridgeview, over to the Harley Ensign DNR Memorial Launch and then back to Lambrecht Marina. The event lasts about two-and-a-half hours.

Julie Angst, manager at Lambrecht Marina, said the event began many years ago, but its popularity ebbed over the years. She helped resurrect it in 2014, turning it into a charity event with proceeds supporting a different 501(c)(3) each year. Local businesses — which this year include presenting sponsors Freedom Boat Club of Lake St. Clair and Detroit, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Pleasantrees — step up to sponsor the event and help to provide prize money for the best-decorated boats: $1,000 for the grand prize, $500 for second place, $300 for third place and $100 for a resident winner. Boats must be decorated in a family-friendly theme and must be pre-registered to participate.

Angst said children and animals are “near and dear” to her heart, so she alternates between helping charities that support one or the other each year. This year, ReJoyceful Animal Rescue in Clinton Township will benefit from the event.

“We try to get at least 20 to 25 boats in the parade,” Angst said. “It’s a fun night. A lot of the Clinton River residents ... they’re all lit up, too. It’s very exciting to be out there, just to wave to everybody.”

The judges are stationed at Bumper’s Landing, 31970 North River Road, and viewers can catch the parade there, at Crews Inn, 31988 North River Road, or the Harley Ensign DNR Memorial Boat Launch, 32995 South River Road. Angst said viewers also park up and down North River Road to try to catch the spectacle.

Angst said they are excited the “Boat Town tradition” is back again for 2021. The family-friendly event brings people together for a great cause, she said.

ReJoyceful Animal Rescue is a no-kill, foster-based cat and dog rescue in metro Detroit. The animals they serve have been pulled from high-kill animal shelters or they are animals who are without a home because they are sick, unwanted, aggressive, abandoned, abused or neglected. Volunteers in foster homes take in the animals and help to rehabilitate them.

The Aug. 7 parade will be led by Captain Luke Clyburn and the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets on the Pride of Michigan. The Pride of Michigan, located on South River Road, will hold an open house for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet program that day prior to the parade, with tours commencing at noon. The sea cadet program is supported by the Noble Odyssey Foundation in White Lake, Michigan. To learn more or to donate, visit The Lac Ste. Claire Kiwanis Club will also host a recruitment luncheon that day to help sponsor qualified children ages 13-16. No registration is necessary.

Angst said they’re hoping to get as many boats participating as possible and want everyone to come out and watch the parade.

“It’s small-town people here, and we’re hoping more people jump on board,” she said.

Registration is required for boats to participate, but it is free to do so. To participate in or sponsor the event, or to donate to ReJoyceful Animal Rescue as part of the event, call Angst at (586) 469-6000.