As a way to show support for President Donald Trump in the upcoming election, the Franklin County Republican Party is sponsoring the Tims Ford for Trump Boat Parade.
The Sept. 12 event, scheduled for noon to 4 p.m., will be similar to other parades, but the key difference involves boats lining up on Tims Ford and traveling to key locations on the lake instead of designated sites on land.
Event Coordinator Jayson Davis said 250 boats have been registered, and organizers are optimistic the number will increase by the time the event is held.
“It is with great pride that we invite the general public to come out to Tims Ford Lake on Saturday, Sept. 12, from noon to 4 p.m. and enjoy the Tims Ford for Trump Boat Parade,” Davis said in an invitational message.
This will be the first-ever boat parade of its kind on the lake, and the Franklin County Republican Party is excited to host it, he said.
Joanne Davis, Franklin County Republican Party leader, said she has been impressed with the response to the event that, in addition to boats from the immediate area, has drawn interest from Alabama and Georgia boaters.
“It’s so exciting to see what started as a little project grow into a great project,” she said
The parade will begin at noon at the Winchester Bass Club and will end at about 2:30 p.m. at Twin Creeks Marina for a “SAILabration” which will feature a “Make America Great Again” Navy and patriotic music.
Guest speakers will include U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty, State Sen. Janice Bowling, State Rep. Iris Rudder, Franklin County Mayor David Alexander and Franklin County Republican Party Chairman Bradley Sherman.
“We have been overwhelmed with the huge response from all over the Southeast,” Jayson Davis said. “We originally had a goal of 100 boats, and we already have over 200 registered.
“We expect to see a lot people waving patriotic flags while watching the parade from the shore on boat docks, boat ramps and other areas close to the water. We have a map on our Facebook page that shows the estimated time of arrival at various visible sites around the lake. We do suggest that the general public bring lawn chairs and beverages also as the parade line should be about a mile long.”
The parade categories will consist of patriotically decorated personal watercraft, fishing boats, pontoon boats, deck boats, run abouts, wake boats and house boats.
Genesis Fiberglass Concepts LLC of Winchester will be awarding a “Best Decorated” in each class and will also draw from the list of entries for one lucky participant to receive a limited-edition Trump 45 Glock 19 handgun with accessories.
To be eligible for the drawing, participants must be at least 18 years of age, pass a background check, have registered their vessel in the parade, have completed an online liability waiver for the parade and must be present at the SAILabration at Twin Creeks Marina.
WZYX Radio in Cowan will be broadcasting patriotic music during the parade which will begin at noon just after the national anthem is played to start the parade.
The procession will then wind its way into Estill Springs and back over to the Winchester Springs and Pleasant Grove areas and then cruise over to the Awalt Bridge area in Turkey Creek and then wind its way over to the Mansford Bridge area where it will turn around and enjoy a nice cruise by Devil Step Boat Ramp and then back to Twin Creeks Marina.
Jayson Davis said the route may be altered somewhat, depending on overall attendance. He said if weather is really good, the event might draw 400 boats, which means the traffic to Estill Springs might have to be reduced to ensure safety.
Those wishing to register a vessel or get more information should visit the “Tims Ford for Trump Boat Parade” Facebook page. Jayson Davis said participants should go to the Facebook page for any potential route changes. For further information, his phone number is 931-691-0629.
Spectators will get to enjoy a first-ever event flyover by the “Make America Great Again” jet. One person will get to win a free VIP experience with the jet and the pilot.
The Franklin County Republican Party, located at 905 Dinah Shore Boulevard in Winchester, has plenty of Trump flags, signs, hats and shirts available for purchase, and the establishment is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.