LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO – Boaters from across the country are encouraged to come to Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks on Saturday, June 12 to attempt to set a new official record for the largest boat parade in the world.
According to Guinness World Records, the current record stands at 1,180 vessels, which was set in Terengganu, Malaysia in September 2014. There have been several unsuccessful attempts to break the largest boat parade record by different cities in years past, but parade organizers at the Lake of the Ozarks are confident that they can make it happen next month.
“Who wouldn’t want to be a part of history?” asks Lagina Fitzpatrick, interim director for the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association and one of the organizers for the event. “This wouldn’t just be a point of pride for the Lake of the Ozarks. This goes beyond the Lake and even beyond Missouri. We could bring the world record to the United States,” Fitzpatrick says.
The world record attempt, sponsored by Mortgage Headquarters (MHQ), is part of the Best Dam Birthday Bash, a series of events taking place this summer at the Lake of the Ozarks to celebrate Missouri’s bicentennial as well as the 90th anniversary of the completion of the Bagnell Dam and the subsequent creation of the Lake of the Ozarks.
“Registration for boat parade participants opened less than a week ago and we already have boaters signed up from around Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa and Texas,” Fitzpatrick says. “We would love to have people coming in from all 50 states for this parade. That would be so awesome.”
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 12 and will run from the 19 mile marker of the main channel of the Lake (near Dog Days Bar and Grill) to the 26 mile marker (near Margaritaville Lake Resort). Official adjudicators from Guinness World Records will be on hand during the parade to certify the results and, according to Fitzpatrick, hopefully declare it the largest boat parade in the world the same afternoon.
One of the first boaters to register was Jeff Hynek of Swisher, Iowa, and he’s excited to take part in the festivities. “We are happy to be a part of this historic event,” Hynek says. “We challenge all other Iowans to get out on the water for this unique challenge” and help break the world record.
According to Tom Abbett, chairman of the Best Dam Boat Parade Committee, there will be a variety of state-registered motorized vessels, from personal watercraft (life jackets required) up to 50-foot cruisers. Boats will be grouped together according to size as they make their way along the parade route (no paddle boats, canoes or kayaks will be allowed to participate).
“You’re going to see all types of cool boats in this fun and safe parade,” Abbett says. “We have received a regatta permit from the Missouri Water Patrol and we will make sure that this is well-coordinated, efficient and, most importantly, safe. We have pre-determined milling stations as well as organized entry and exit plans for those boats participating to make the process smooth, easy and enjoyable.”
Abbett stresses that this is a boat parade and not a boat race. “We will have a no wake zone from the 19 mile marker to the 26 mile marker and boats will travel at a fast idle speed of no more than 5 to 8 miles per hour.”
Registration for the parade costs $50 per boat and includes an official “Guinness World Records Attempt” flag to fly on each boat during the parade, an official numbered wrist band and a commemorative t-shirt marking the occasion. Parade organizers encourage those interested in participating to register early at www.BestDamBirthdayBash.com/boat-parade/. Boat parade registration closes at 12 noon on June 11.
“To make sure we break the record, we have to have every participant pre-register for the parade to ensure they are officially counted by the Guinness adjudicators,” Abbett says. “We want to have as many boats as possible in the parade, so we welcome everyone to join us, but only boats that have been pre-registered can participate. You can’t show up on the day of the event and think that you can just hop in the parade line because that won’t count.”
Abbett also ads that this is not a political parade and asks participants to please refrain from flying “statement” flags so that the official “Guinness World Record Attempt” flags and participant t-shirts can be clearly seen by the adjudicators.
The world record attempt at the Lake of the Ozarks was the brainchild of Mary Kay Von Brendel, director of operations for the Ozarks Amphitheater and also one of the organizers of the Best Dam Birthday Bash.
“The Lake of the Ozarks is one of the most renowned boating lakes in the country so it makes perfect sense to attempt a world-record boat parade here,” Von Brendel says. “A world record attempt is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so it’s a great way to bring attention to the Lake area and the Best Dam Birthday Bash festivities. It also gives us a very good chance to bring the world record to the United States.”
For those that want to be part of the boat parade on June 12 but do not have a boat, there are numerous marinas around the Lake of the Ozarks that offer water craft rentals by the hour, the day or the week. More information on boat rentals and marinas can be found at www.FunLake.com.
Proceeds from the boat parade will go to the “Best Dam Fireworks Display” scheduled for Missouri’s official birthday on Tuesday, August 10. Fourteen barges will be strategically placed on the Lake of the Ozarks stretching from the 0 mile marker at Bagnell Dam to the 40 mile marker for what will be the largest fireworks display to ever take place in Missouri.
Anyone traveling to the Lake will find accommodations to fit every style and budget. There are full-service large-scale resorts and smaller family-owned and operated resorts as well as charming bed and breakfasts or comfortable cabins and cottages. There is no shortage of fully furnished vacation rental homes and condominiums. For those who prefer sleeping under the stars, there are spacious campgrounds and RV parks interspersed throughout the area. For a complete list of accommodations available at the Lake, visit the “Lodging” tab at www.FunLake.com.
For more information on the boat parade or a complete list of Best Dam Birthday Bash festivities, visit www.BestDamBirthdayBach.com.
Visitors also can learn more about all the fun events, attractions and activities, as well as lodging and dining options available all year at the “Best Recreational Lake in the Nation” at www.FunLake.com or by calling the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).
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For media inquiries, please reach out to Lagina Fitzpatrick at Lagina@FunLake.com.