Lake Norman will soon be glistening with thousands of lights amongst a sea red, white and blue.
A â€œLight Up the Lakeâ€ Parade will take place July 2. Money raised for the event will go the Lake Norman Marine Commission and its navigational aid program.
Currently, there are 140 navigational aids on the lake, which are continually in need of replacement or repair.
The commission is not receiving enough funds from counties to keep up with the need.
Nate Davis, founder of LKNfun.com, a Web site for Lake Norman boaters, is one of the main organizers for the parade.
He also sits on the commissionâ€™s preservation and safety committee.
â€œNighttime travel is the most hazardous thing on the lake,â€ Davis said. â€œI have been lost on the lake before at night.â€
Davis hopes by raising money for the navigation aids program, it will help make the lake safer.
Heather Cleevely is also helping with the event.
â€œOne of the biggest problems is that navigational aids cost so much,â€ Cleevely said. â€œSometimes it can cost as much as $1,000 for some lights, and the operating budget for the marine commission is so small.â€
She said the goal for the parade is to raise $5,000.
Carolina Blond will launch Carolina Light, a low-calorie, low-carb beer. For each beer purchased, proceeds will go to help the lake.
Cleevely said so far 15 people have signed up for the event. Once the count reaches 30, she said no more entries will be accepted.
â€œWe are limiting it at 30 to make sure itâ€™s fantastic,â€ she said.
The idea sprouted from Steve Boyle, a Huntersville resident who helps with the Christmas parade each year at the Peninsula.
â€œIt is so cold when they have the Christmas parade that we thought having a parade in the summer made sense,â€ he said.
His favorite twist is that children will be judges of the boats.
â€œYoung minds are not biased,â€ he said.
Categories that will be judged are Best Overall, Most Creative, the Lighthouse Award for most lights, Most Patriotic, Best Island-Themed Boat, Most Colorful and Best Effort.
Greg Hart, sales director at Westport Marina, is entering one of his boats in the parade.
He said he is hoping to decorate it with roughly 1,500 lights.
â€œWe try to be a good sponsor,â€ he said. â€œEspecially when it helps commissions, activities or events.â€
The festivities will begin at dusk or approximately 9:15 p.m. The parade will leave Midtown Sundries in Cornelius, pass Ramsey Creek, up to Jetton Park, and then turn around and reverse the route. Cost to enter a boat is $50.
A pre-party for everyone will begin at 7:30 p.m. and a post party will be at 10:45 p.m.
Organizers are hoping to make the event annual. For more information contact Heather Cleevely at 704-425-3164 or visit LKNfun.com. by Amy Wadsworth