By Cody Thompson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – Break out your boat and deck it out in all of the red, white and blue decorations you can find because Houston County Lake’s 21st Annual Fourth of July Boat parade is right around the corner. This year’s parade will begin at 5 p.m. on Monday, July 3.

“Everyone who has anything that floats, whether it’s a bass boat, pontoon boat or a canoe, can enter,” boat parade coordinator Charles Sutton told the Messenger on Thursday. “Just decorate your vessel as patriotic as possible.”

The parade entries will gather in Sutton Cove, located at 152 Mize Dr. in Lake Forest Estates in Grapeland, and drivers will take their boats to the replica of the Statue of Liberty on Mize Island.

The boats will then make their way around Houston County Lake to showcase their decorations to those in attendance on the shore.

“The parade is just a lot of fun and everyone has a great time,” Sutton said. “It’s a great way to celebrate the birth and independence of our country while having a great time for those in the parade and those watching.”

Sutton encourages those wishing to enter the parade to “go-all-out” and be as creative as possible with their decorations.

“We’ve seen just about everything that you can imagine in our past parades, so you’re really going to have to bring it and be as creative as possible when decorating your boats,” Sutton said. “I’ve seen floats decorated as everything from military themes to mermaids. Last year, we had an Elvis Presley themed boat where everyone on it was dressed as the King himself and were playing guitars and blaring Elvis songs as loud as possible.”

After the parade, the boats will be judged and selected for a variety of awards, including: Best of Show, First Runner Up, Most Original, Best Spirited Crew, Most Patriotic, Best Personal Watercraft and Best-Towed Craft.

A large fireworks show will be held after dark at the Statue of Liberty on Mize Island.

“The fireworks show is absolutely amazing, it lasts about an hour and rivals just about any that you will ever see,” Sutton said. “What makes it truly amazing is that the reflections can be seen in the lake as the fireworks rise in the air which creates an amazing visual effect.”

Registration for the parade will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 2 and Monday, June 3. If you are registering by boat, registration will be held at the Statue of Liberty in Sutton Cove. On-land registration will be held at 1 Mize Dr. in Lake Forest Estates. The registration fee is $5.

For more information about the parade or for more details about how to enter, call Sutton at 713-539-8454 on weekdays and 936-546-5756 on weekends.

“We hope to see everyone out at the lake for an evening of fun and patriotism,” Sutton said. “It’ll be a great time and you won’t want to miss it.”

Cody Thompson may be reached via e-mail at