Boat parade returns to Delray waters after city agrees to pay up

Delray Beach agreed to front half the money needed to hold Boynton Beach’s 45th annual Holiday Boat Parade, something the city did not do last year, which prompted Boynton Beach to end the parade where the two cities meet on the Intracoastal Waterway.

On Tuesday evening, the Delray Beach city commission unanimously agreed to fund the parade, which floats brightly-decorated boats in the Intracoastal Waterway between Lantana and Delray Beach. Still, one commissioner voiced concerns about Delray’s return on investment.

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“This was a very hot item last year, what we didn’t do in the process is negotiate,” Commissioner Shelly Petrolia said. “We’re now spending $5,000 with really nothing to show for it.”

The parade, which is slated this year for Friday, Dec. 9, costs roughly $10,000 in total. Petrolia added: “We should be able to get some notoriety out of it as well.”

The Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency has added Delray Beach into its parade title — now calling it the “Boynton Beach-Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade.” They have also added Delray Beach into “event advertising and CRA’s marketing efforts, captains’ meetings and awards,” said Mike Simon, interim director of the Boynton Beach CRA.

“In previous years, this wasn’t the case,” he said.

Delray Beach commissioners agreed that many Delray Beach residents revere the parade, and watch it from Delray’s waterfront parks. Because of this, they agreed to partially fund it.

The commissioners did, however, recommend city staff find a more permanent place in the budget to pull the boat parade funding, rather than the city’s reserves.

“This particular issue caused such uproar last year … You would think after last year’s fiasco it would’ve just been budgeted,” Commissioner Mitch Katz said.

When Delray Beach decided last year not to float the bill, Boynton Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency drew parade lines at the Delray Beach boundary. Individual boat operators were given the option to travel into Delray Beach, and many of them still did.

Aside from last year, the boat parade has historically started at the Boynton Harbor Marina and ended at the C-15 Canal, which divides Delray Beach and Boca Raton.

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