Friends of Lake Pocotopaug hosts annual Boat Parade

By Samantha Figueroa - ReminderNews
East Hampton - posted Mon., Aug. 12, 2013
The crew of the 'Pocotopaug Enterprise' called out to the beach, 'Beam me up, Scotty!' Photos by Samantha Figueroa.
The crew of the 'Pocotopaug Enterprise' called out to the beach, 'Beam me up, Scotty!' Photos by Samantha Figueroa.

Sears Park, a private park for East Hampton residents, opened to the general public on Aug. 10 for the ninth annual Captain Grizzy’s Show Boat Parade, organized by the Friends of Lake Pocotopaug. Spectators gathered early on the beach, anticipating the showboats, decorated pontoons and motorboats, of local residents and organizations.

While the boats paraded around the lake, spectators were entertained by Pete and Chris Amusements’ Magic Show and a hula-hoop contest, while New York Life Insurance took digital fingerprints to create children’s ID cards. They could also browse booths set up by local vendors.

In true parade style, the show boats were announced as they passed the crowded beach. Some captains utilized their sound systems to add music to the parade: “Welcome the Rat Pack,” captained by John Moore, featured Frank Sinatra music, while Paul and Sandy’s “The Big Green Tractor” chugged by playing Kenny Chesney.

It wasn’t just the boats that were decked out, as the crew members also dressed to the theme of their boat: the characters of “Star Trek” floated by on the “Pocotopaug Enterprise,” Santa Claus traded in his sleigh for a boat, the “Tie One On” crew sported skirts made from ties, and Captain Hook and Peter Pan flew by aboard “Captain Hook’s Jolly Roger.”

“We want to enter next year,” said new East Hampton resident Nancy Ohr, enjoying the parade with her husband Hank and granddaughter Katelyn. “We’re collecting ideas.”

An elaborate design wasn’t always necessary to make an impact, however. Captain Paula Bosco’s boat, “Boston Strong,” was decorated with track shoes and flags in memory of the Boston Marathon bombing. “It was simple yet meaningful,” Bosco said, noting that the theme was inspired by how she was impacted by the event while trying to explain it to her children.

As per tradition, the many characters and spectators gathered at Angelico’s Lake House for the announcement of the parade winners and the $10,000 raffle - Friends of Lake Pocotopaug’s biggest fundraiser, according to Vice Chairman Nikki O’Neil.

First place went to Paul and Sandy’s “The Big Green Tractor,” captained by Dan “Hot Dog” Peszynski. Upon accepting the trophy, Peszynski announced that he and his crew were donating the $500 prize to his mother’s organization, the Sandy Peszynski Breast Cancer Fund. The captain and crew of the “Tie One On” boat also sent their $250 second place prize to the stage to add to the cancer fund donation. Peszynski thanked everyone who participated in the parade, declaring, “You are all winners!”

Peszynski also wished to remember the parade’s namesake, Denis “Captain Grizzy” Griswold. “Captain Grizzy” was a beloved community member and founder of the non-profit organization “Friends of Lake Pocotopaug,” for whom the boat parade was re-named after his passing in 2008. The FLP take pride in keeping Lake Pocotopaug beautiful. They organize annual lake cleanups and raise funds for new buoys and ultrasonic machines for algae remediation. “I grew up on this lake, I love this lake,” Peszynski said, as he took the winner’s traditional victory swig from the silver trophy cup.

As costumed boaters mingled and danced to the band, resident Irene Tomasello enthused, “It certainly is Christmas in East Hampton.”

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