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Frosty floats on Lanier
Boaters decorate their ships for lake holiday season parade
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Boats covered in Christmas lights make their way into Sunset Cove Saturday during the Lanier Partners Parade of Boats at Lake Lanier Islands in Buford. More than 30 boats ranging in size and decor pulled into the cove to be judged during the event. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Thousands of Christmas lights shone and sparkled on the waters of Lake Lanier at the Lanier Partners Parade of Boats Saturday night.

Lights came in all shapes, sizes and colors and lengths on the various boats.

The Trautners from Flowery Branch had more than just lights on their boat.

Sitting on the back of the boat was a 5-foot LED lighted abominable snowman.

“I had to have Bumble. That was all me,” Mike Trautner said.

Bumble is the name of the anthropomorphic snowman seen in the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Christmas film.

He wasn’t the only recognizable figure on the boat. They also had two inflatable penguins they bought from Walmart and a few other doodads, like a lighted red ribbon and snowflake lights dangling from the windows.

All of these, along with the string lights that adorned the edges of the boat’s frame, were put up last weekend by Trautner and his wife April. They put together a game plan for the boat for a few days and then bought the supplies they would need, which included around 100 suction cups and yards of fishing line.

They chose to do it this past weekend since Mike was having surgery on his foot the day before the parade was set to happen.

However, Mike hopped around the deck on one foot, happy to be a part of the parade, which benefitted Toys for Tots. They were also happy to have friends and family to share the night with.

“We intend to do it every year,” Mike said. “We’ve got to do it.”

They also brought toys to donate for the event.

Marcus Davis and his son Abra Davis came just to see the boats up close and personal.

“I’ve never been this close to these kind of boats,” Marcus said.

Marcus is a software developer, but said he has always dreamed of owning a boat.

Charlie Spencer owned one of the boats in the parade, but they got to the dock early to hang out before the parade began, so they didn’t participate in the actual parade.

However, their boat was decked out in both colorful and classic icicle lights with a large inflatable snowman sitting on the end of the boat with a fishing rod and a fish on the end.

Katie Grimsley, wife of Taylor Grimsley, made the fish.

“It took hours to make,” Taylor said. “She worked extremely hard on all of it.”

The fish was made out of foam board and had holes punched along the outline, which were then filled with a string of colorful lights looped through.

It took about an hour for them to decorate the boat, but more time to plan what they wanted it to look like.

Spencer said he had always wanted to participate, and always participates in one near his parents’ house in Florida, but past years were canceled due to low pool levels.

“I liked that this year they worked the kids into it too,” Spencer said. “That’s really our favorite part of it. That’s why we did it (this year).”

The five people he brought out with him, including Lonny Shearer from Sugar Hill, were all wearing tall Santa hats and called themselves the Elves on the Shelf. They all met through a Facebook group dedicated to Lake Lanier boating.

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