The inaugural “Freedom Floats” will be a patriotic parade past Savannah’s downtown waterfront on July 4 in honor of Independence Day.
After the rousing success of 2021’s St. Patrick’s Day “Shamrock Ships Flotilla” boat parade, organizers are gearing up for more revelry on the river.
The parade itself will start floating in view down the Savannah River at about 3:30 p.m. on July 4. Registered boats will muster just down river at Elba Island around 3 p.m., then parade in formation downtown to be viewed by judges and fans stationed all along River Street and the Plant Riverside District. Online viewers can tune in to the day’s festivities at savannahcams.com.
Plant Riverside - also a sponsor of the parade - will be hosting a plethora of experiences along the water, including patriotic fountain shows, live music and entertainment, food and beverage specials and more.
“Things are looking up in hosting live events,” said David Moses of Rising Tide Productions, who hopes to make these and other parades annual affairs in Savannah and the Lowcountry. “Organizations out there are bringing events back safely, so we said, ‘Let’s celebrate American freedoms, and be outside on boats with people you know, and dressed to the nines in patriotic gear.’ So on July 4, we’ll float a parade and raise a toast to American ideals as we celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Individuals, businesses, and organizations can all register a boat in the parade to join in all the fun, and also be eligible for prizes for best décor, most ship spirit, and people’s choice. The idea is to deck-out the decks with as much patriotic gear as possible. Flags, mascots, music, and costumes are all encouraged to get each ship up-to-spirit.
There is also an opportunity for each registered boat to raise funds for their favorite charity.
“Each captain will choose a charitable organization to support, then raise funds through the Savannah Harbor Foundation for that charity at one dollar per vote. And the overall people’s choice winner will receive an extra $250. So we are encouraging local organizations to enter their own boats as a fundraising opportunity as well,” Moses said.
Don’t have a boat? Don’t worry. Groups of 6, 12, 18, 25 and beyond can charter a vessel with a Coast-Guard-approved captain at the helm. More information on that can be found on the parade website.
Freedom Boat Club, the presenting sponsor, is also a great way to get floating in the parade.
“This is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make if you should ever choose to join,” Moses noted.
Freedom Boat Club members will receive complimentary registration to “Freedom Floats” using a special promotional code.
“We are also excited to have a great relationship with sponsors like Connect Savannah, DBC Radio, Savannah Cams and others behind us as we create these experiences. The mood of the Savannah community is ripe to get back out there and enjoy things like this,” Moses said.
He also notes that the U.S. Coast Guard will have a large presence on the river on the day of the event, ensuring a safe day on the water for all.
Moses directs any potential sponsors, organizations and individuals who are interested to the event website: freedomfloats.us
“All the information needed to register is at that site,” Moses said, “along with a timeline, ideas and explanations about prizes and contests.”