Downrigging Weekend Lighted Boat Parade Registration is Open

September 26, 2017

Sultana Education Foundation’s Downrigging Weekend Tall Ship and Wooden Boat Festival
September 26, 2017 – Chestertown

Wondering what to do with those 675 strings of Christmas lights bagged away in the basement? If you have a boat on a trailer, a roll of duct tape and The Vision, you are on the way to riches and stardom, sort of. And it is all courtesy of The Sultana Education Foundation’s Downrigging Weekend Tall Ship and Wooden Boat Festival (October 27-29, 2017).

One of the featured events at this year’s Downrigging Weekend will be the Festival’s first lighted boat parade. What will make this particular procession so unusual is that the boats will parade — not on the water, but — on land, towed on trailers down Chestertown’s High Street. The parade will kick of at 6:45pm on Friday, October 27 and conclude just before the Downrigging Weekend fireworks show at 7:30pm.

“We are very excited by the prospects for this event,” said Drew McMullen, President of the Sultana Education Foundation. “It’s an experiment this year, but our long-term goal is to have this event grow into one of the highlights of the Festival.”

McMullen got the idea for the lighted boat parade while watching a promenade of lighted trucks during a New Year’s Eve celebration in Burlington, Vermont. “It was an amazing sight,” said McMullen. “Cement mixers covered with lights twirling along and dump trucks with blazing beds going up and down. They really go all out.”

The Sultana lighted boat parade is open to any boat owner willing to “go all out” so long as the boat is mounted on a legal trailer or truck bed and meets a few other requirements. And as an inducement, $1,000 in cash prizes will be awarded the top scorers in each of three categories: Most Original, $250; Most Twinkle for the Buck, $250; and the parade’s $500 grand prize, the Kolossal Killowatt Award presented “to the entry that achieves the best combination of enormity of output, wow appeal and general over-the-top appearance.” Winners will be selected by an independent panel of three judges.

“Let your imagination run where it might,” McMullen advises prospective entrants. “Turn your boat into a fish, the Eiffel Tower, maybe even a cement mixer. Remember, this is Halloween Weekend. Just so long as it’s in good taste.”

Entering the parade is free, but participants must register in advance. Complete parade rules and online entry form are available at

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