Tuesday, December 16, 2008
All Access: Winterfest Boat Parade
The Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade sailed through town this past weekend and one of the most memorable boats has been a part of the show for more than 30 years! So what does it take to wow the crowds every year? Seven's Dave Kartunen gives us an All Access pass aboard the Mooncusser!
WSVN -- It's a memorable routine familiar to Winterfest for three decades. Set sail with All Access aboard the Mooncusser.
Though it's named for land-based pirates, every winter, the 37-year-old sailboat loads up with soldiers, toy soldiers, with a memorable routine that caught everyone by surprise the first time around.
Jack Holland: "We came up, and we fired our cannon, and we all fell down, and they all thought our boat had blown up."
Jack Holland: "But then, when we all got up and laughed and waved, they said, 'Oh, it's OK,' and an institution was born."
Captain Jack Holland, a retired electrical engineer, put his expertise to work.
Dave Kartunen: "So how much electricity do you have now?"
Jack Holland: "We draw almost 5,000 watts."
Wife Sharon has taken over the role of technical director...
Sharon Holland: "From shore, we look very professional."
Sharon Holland: "Almost 400 people that I have their waist sizes and their inseam sizes."
Sharon Holland: "There's your uniform, all ready to go. Enough for an army any size."
And drill sergeant.
There is but one qualification for being a soldier.
Sharon Holland: "We fall down and get up about 250 times."
Judy Antweiler: "The next day, it gets real difficult getting up and down."
If you can do that, you're in.
Windy Eichner: "A friend of a friend called the other day and said, 'You're a natural. They need somebody to go into the boat parade.'"
If you don't believe her, they even let this guy do it. Hey, this is All Access, not Half Access.
Windy Eichner: "They're a bear to get off at the end of the parade, but they're a lot of fun."
But on top of the days of preparation and decoration, what makes the Mooncusser so special is tradition. The theme of the boat takes over, the decor of the house this time of year, including an entire Christmas tree.
Sharon Holland: "There's probably about 400 soldiers on this tree now."
Awards and plaques from parades past adorn an entire wall.
And Sharon has catalogued every Winterfest since 1978.
Spend any time with them, and you won't be cussing the moon. You realize it's part of what makes the holidays in South Florida special.
Windy Eichner: "It's the way we are down here. It's our way of doing Christmas."
Judy Antweiler: "You look forward to it every year. I really don't want to miss it."
Sharon Holland: "Every year they have a different theme, but we're just the wooden soldiers and people expect us."