The annual Harrison Township Parade of Lights  will set sail along the Clinton River Aug. 6.

The annual Harrison Township Parade of Lights will set sail along the Clinton River Aug. 6.

File photo provided

Parade of Lights sets sail Aug. 6

By: Maria Allard | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published July 27, 2022


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Get ready to be awed Aug. 6 when the annual Harrison Township Parade of Lights sails along the Clinton River.

About 25 boats with twinkling lights, from the bows to the sterns, will beautify the waterway during the colorful parade.

There is no fee for boat owners to enter their vessels in the Parade of Lights, but the last day to register is July 27. For safety purposes, boats must be at least 18 feet in length.

The boat parade will begin at 9 p.m. from Lambrecht Marina, which is co-hosting the event with the Freedom Boat Club of Lake St. Clair, and glide along the river over a 2 1/2-hour stretch.

“The pride of Michigan is going to lead it,” said Julie Angst, chairman of the Parade of Lights, who is also the manager at Lambrecht Marina.

Once the motorcade on the water launches from Lambrecht Marina, it will travel on the Clinton River over to the Bridgeview Street Bridge and then to the Harley Ensign Memorial Boat Launch and back to Lambrecht.

Spectators can view the lighted boats at Crews Inn at 31988 N. River Road, Bumper’s Landing at 31970 N. River Road, and the Harley Ensign Memorial Launch, 32995 S. River Road. Onlookers also have been known to find spots along the river, park their chairs and view the parade.

“You see people parked all along South River Road,” Angst said.

The boat owners don’t hold back when adorning their vessels. The participants can choose whatever theme they want, but it has to be family friendly. Las Vegas, pirates, “Finding Nemo,” the Detroit Lions, Mardi Gras and Halloween have been some past ideas. Even residents who live along the river decorate their homes and decks.

“They decorate with lights, costumes and music. They really put a lot of time and energy into it. It’s really beautiful. It’s something to see,” Angst said. “Last year was a dog boat. It was all about dogs. One year, we had a flamingo theme and all the girls were dressed as flamingos.”

The boat owners also have a chance to win prize money. A judging panel, including Jay Towers of 100.3 WNIC and Fox 2 News Morning, will judge the boats. The grand prize is $1,000, the second-place winner receives $500, and a $300 prize goes to the third-place winner. The resident with the most decked out decor will receive $100.

According to Angst, this year’s boat parade sponsors include the Freedom Boat Club of Lake St. Clair, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, PGS Dentistry, Metro Boat Show-MBIA, Octopus’s Beer Garden, Huron Pointe Excavating, Raymand James & Great Lakes Scuttlebutt.

Along with the sparkling decor, the boat parade raises money for charity. Each year, Angst picks a nonprofit organization to sponsor. This year, Angels of Hope was chosen.

Angels Of Hope, with a mailing address in Shelby Township, provides financial and emotional support to Michigan families impacted by cancer by easing the burden caused by the disease, its treatment and its devastating effects. For further information, visit

“Not only are we doing something in the boating community, but we’re giving to a charity,” Angst said. “There has been a lot of enthusiasm in this community.”

The Freedom Boat Club of Lake St. Clair owns a fleet of boats that club owners can use. The club has a total of 47 boats at four different marinas: Sindbad’s Marina in Detroit, Safe Harbor Jefferson Beach in St. Clair Shores, Lambrecht Marina and the Algonac Harbor Club.

The Freedom Boat Club of Lake St. Clair owner Steve Dobreff is looking forward to another Parade of Lights. Ahoy, matey, because the boat parade also brings out the pirate in Dobreff, who usually decorates his boat with a pirate-themed look.

“Over the years, they have done some spectacular boats. I have participated in the last five years. Julie Angst had been talking to me about it. She puts her heart and soul into making the parade happen. It’s really a lot of work,” Dobreff said.

And that hard work pays off.

“It’s an amazing event — one of the best events on Lake St. Clair every year. It’s really a lot of fun. Places up and down the river set up shop,” Dobreff said. “It’s an amazing event for our community.”

For more information about the Harrison Township Parade of Lights or to register your boat, contact Julie Angst at (586) 469-6000. Sponsorships are available until July 27.