The Villa Park Dry Land Boat Parade will held be on Sunday, December 10, 2017. The parade will start at 5:00 PM and follow a route to the Villa Park Towne Center. Activities at the VP Towne Center will conclude at 9:00 PM.
Dry Land Boat Parade Details
- Registration forms are available at the VP City Hall
- The parade map can be found here.
- Rich Freschi Award: BSA Troop 850
- Best Youth Yacht: VPHS Aquatics
- Most Whimsical: Russell Price
- Best Holiday Spirit: Mike and Fran Logan
- Best Use of Lights: Rand Penrod
- Most Artistic: Shaun Radcliff
- Most Interactive: John Lewis Family
- Most Original: Bill Steiner
- Best Use of Theme: Todd and Mychele Durdella
- Best Animation: Matty Bryton
- Best Overall: Salem Lutheran
2017 Grand Marshals
- Pam Dunn
- Barry Denes
The dry land boat parade is an asphalt harbor tour where 50 + vessels travel through Villa Park. Along the way there are neighborhood parties and kids lined up eagerly waiting for candy to be tossed overboard. There is a grand marshall each year and even quirky annual themes like Yachts and Yachts of Holiday Fun.
The parade ultimately ends up docking at the Villa Park Towne Centre where a large crowd awaits including the VPHS marching band. At the Towne Centre there are tree lighting and awards ceremonies with trophies for categories such as best overall, most artistic or most whimsical. Food booths are on hand as well as retail vendors with items for sale. It all goes to a good cause though as the retail vendors donate a percentage of sales to the VPCS Foundation, a 501C3.
Boat Parade Origins
The first Dry Land Boat Parade was held in December 1982 but the initial idea came from a group of VPHS teenagers the year prior. In 1981, five teens wanted to start a high school club and as somewhat of a joke came up with a yacht club even though none of them, nor their parents, owned a boat. A constitution, teacher sponsor and approval from the student senate quickly yielded them a yacht club with $400 and a page in the VPHS yearbook, The Odyssey.
A year later, one of the boys father’s, Chuck Beesley expanded on the idea at the Women’s League Christmas dance at the Disneyland Hotel. The first year there were about 15 to 20 boats and 75 the next. NBC News even carried the first event live across the Western United States and it has been a Villa Park tradition ever since. However, soon the parade faded and ceased from being an annual event until in 1998 the parade was rekindled and has been an annual tradition ever since.
A “boat” may be defined as anything that can be towed or driven at up to a speed of 5 mph. Typically there all are forms of decorated boats and wheeled transports such as golf carts, Segways, trucks, classic cars, surfboards, kayaks, jet skis and many more creative vehicles.
Past Trophies Have Included:
Best Youth Yacht
Best Holiday Spirit
Best Use of Lights
Best Use of Theme
Rich Freschi Award: Life in Villa Park.
The Dry Land Boat Parade is organized by the Villa Park Community Service Foundation.