NORWOOD — An All-American spirit was on display at Lake Tillery Saturday as a fleet of boats honored President Donald Trump the day before his 74th birthday.
Hundreds of boats filled the lake, decorated in support of the president, featuring a variety of patriotic flags and other decor.
The lead boats arrived at 8:30 a.m. and were on the main channel near the hydro-electric dam end of the lake where the parade began. All other boats lined up behind them and followed.
D.J. Dean began playing music on the Stanly County side around 9 a.m. and at 10:50 a.m. a drone was launched to take photos and video of the celebration, which began at 11 a.m.
The event began in prayer, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, the playing of “God Bless America” before participants joined in to sing “Happy Birthday” to the president.
A horn sounded and the parade began as boaters, spread out at a safe distance, began traveling at cruising speed to Morrow Mountain. After reaching the state park, boaters then turned around and headed back to the dam.
Two pilots flew their planes overhead while passengers captured shots and videos of the event. The total trip took around two hours.
There were folks on every pier and along the banks of the lake waving and taking pictures. Soldiers and their families traveled from Fort Bragg to take part. Every boat available had been rented as well as all the lake rental homes.
The event was monitored by the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
After returning, votes were cast for the best decorated boat with a Calcutta cooler filled with goodies given away, compliments of Advertise It. Boat owners Josh and Tammy Airheart were winners of the contest with their tiki hut boat.
“Josh had purchased an old salvage pontoon, made rails for it, and built a tiki hut in the middle of the boat,” said Tammy Airheart. “We thought it would be fun.”
The celebration turned out to be a very peaceful event respectfully honoring the 45th president.
“What an amazing birthday celebration for our president, as well as our country, right here on Lake Tillery,” said Kim Loflin, one of the organizers.
She said she received many calls and messages afterward “to let me know how much of a blessing it was to be part of the event.”
“What started out as a hope for a 100-boat parade and a nice day turned into hundreds of boats and a great weekend,” Loflin added. “Never in a million years would I have thought this many people would have showed up for the parade — the boats just kept coming. This gave me hope and it inspired so many people. I thank God for a safe, peaceful, and joyful day. This is our America!”