By Jane Smith
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of the Boynton Beach & Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade.
“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 Oct. 13 board meeting.
Since COVID-19 arrived on the scene in mid-March, no large events have been held in Palm Beach County.
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 dinners 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.”
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.”
CRA Board Chairman Steven Grant asked whether the agency had money allocated to light up Ocean Avenue.
Simon said the CRA has about $6,000 to spend this year on installing lighting along the avenue. Unlike last year, there will be no holiday lighting ceremony at Dewey Park.
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. The city may have a menorah- lighting ceremony on the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 10.
Parks staff is look at the city’s Tennis Center, according to Mayor Shelly Petrolia.
The location was selected because it is large enough to allow residents to gather in small, socially distanced groups. Then the menorah would be walked to the Old School Square grounds.
By Jane Smith