Last year at this point, midway through summer, people everywhere were trying to think outside the box for creative ideas on how to salvage what was, to that point, a pretty crummy summer due to the pandemic. Professional sports were playing games without live crowds, you needed to call a beach to reserve a spot -- the world was just different.

Thankfully, we persevered though, by coming together for amazing ideas like this. And also thankfully, just because the wind is at our backs when it comes to the pandemic (regardless of the Delta Variant), amazing ideas like this aren't going away just because we have a better handle on things.

For the second straight summer, from an idea that was born during the pandemic, the Christmas in July Boat Parade will grace the waters of Long Lake and Bryant Pond in Naples, Maine, coming up on Saturday, July 24. As great as last year was, especially considering the emotions and special feel it had due to finally being able to "gather" from afar, this year should be even more epic.

According to the Portland Press Herald, last year's Christmas in July Boat Parade was thought of, planned, and put together by the Naples Marine Safety Patrol within a 3 week period. This year, though, there has been plenty of lead time for planning, and it's becoming a massive effort not only again with the Naples Marine Safety Patrol, but also the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.

According to the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, this year's parade will kick off at 8:30p next Saturday, and is absolutely FREE to register your boat for participation. This year, there will be prizes for the best-decorated boat, so go all out and show all of that Christmas spirit!

The Chamber is also suggesting that if you own a business on the Causeway, to get in on the fun and decorate the outside of your business to go with the theme, along with offering up Christmas in July specials. If you have a home or camp either on Brandy Pond or the Naples side of Long Lake, you're encouraged to get in on the fun and decorate and cheer on from your yard or the Causeway!

And finally, if you're visiting Naples next Saturday and will be around for the parade, the Chamber is encouraging you to participate by finding a safe spot on the Causeway to view, shop local at one of the participating businesses, and even go as far as to donate a new toy to benefit Toys for Tots at one of the sponsor businesses listed on the Chamber's website. (Hey, 'tis the summer season of giving!)

It's great to see that some amazing ideas that were hatched out of the pandemic weren't just one-off's but may be well on their way to becoming actual traditions. Crank up the Carols and enjoy Christmas in July in Naples next Saturday on the lake!

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