By Jane Smith
The pandemic claimed another victim when the Boynton Beach-Delray Beach holiday boat parade was canceled on Oct. 13.
“How would we allow people to come out and safely watch the boat parade,” asked Michael Simon, executive director of the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, at its monthly board meeting.
Since Covid-19 arrived on the scene in mid-March, no large events have been held in Palm Beach County. Covid-19 is a respiratory illness that can be fatal.
The Boynton Beach CRA had allocated $14,750 to host the event with holiday-decorated boats traveling down the Intracoastal Waterway into neighboring Delray Beach.
But on Sept. 30, Boynton Beach CRA staff received an email from the Delray Beach Parks and Recreation staff saying that the Delray Beach City Commission was not allocating any money to share in the costs of the 49th Annual Boynton Beach & Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade.
Delray Beach has reimbursed the Boynton Beach CRA for 50% of the shared expenses related to event marketing, including T-shirts, participant prizes and the awards dinner in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“I’m leaning toward not continuing this for now,” said CRA Vice Chairman Ty Penserga. “It’s hard to proceed without our partner.”
CRA Board Chairman Steven Grant asked whether the agency had money allocated to light up Ocean Avenue.
Last year, the holiday lighting ceremony was held at Dewey Park, Simon said. The CRA has about $6,000 to spend on holiday lighting of Ocean Avenue.
The city of Boynton Beach has already canceled its Holiday Parade.
Delray Beach also will not hold a Holiday Parade this December. It is putting up the 100-foot Christmas tree to put some life into the holiday season. But the city will not host a tree lighting ceremony or a Menorah lighting ceremony on the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 10.
Grant also asked for a holiday raffle to promote the businesses in the Boynton Beach CRA district.
The holiday boat parade is something the Boynton Beach CRA does well, Grant said. “But we don’t want to be part of a super-spreading event.”