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Great American Boat Parade returning to Lake Lanier Saturday
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Dustin Melton, organizer of the Great American Boat Parade on Lake Lanier on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, estimated that around 2,300 boats participated. - photo by Thomas Hartwell

Organizers for a Lake Lanier boat parade scheduled for Saturday, July 23, believe it could reach 800 to 1,000 participants.

The Great American Boat Parade will happen midday Saturday on the lake, beginning in the Buford dam area and heading up the main channel to the area between Port Royale and Sunrise Cove Marina.

John Gunter, one of the organizers of the event, said roughly 200 people were already registered for the event as of Tuesday, July 19.

Gunter said the goal was to raise awareness for first responders and veterans while “celebrating the freedoms” enjoyed as Americans.

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Mark McKinnon said the department is aware of the event and will be present.

“We will be enforcing all boating laws as always, with particular attention to impaired boaters and violators of the 100-foot law,” McKinnon wrote in an email.

The 100-foot law states that boats must be at an idle speed when within 100 feet of “docks, piers, bridges, shorelines or people in the water,” according to DNR law enforcement.

When contacted by The Times Tuesday, Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman B.J. Williams said she was checking with the patrol division on its plans.

The Times also reached out to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Gunter said participants will gather around 11:30 a.m. Saturday and begin the ceremonies at noon, commencing with a prayer and the national anthem.

The lead houseboat will broadcast patriotic music on FM 90.5, Gunter said.