Text and Photos by Martha Stoelting
NORTH WEBSTER — A group of local citizens came up with the idea to honor the Dixie sternwheel paddle boat. A watercraft parade and pier decorating contest called the Dixie Salute was held on Webster Lake Saturday, July 25. Those wishing to be judged placed yellow ribbons on their displays.
Winners of the watercraft parade for first place were the Patrick Hopkins family with the Dixie Chix. Second place was Steve and Robin Kemp with operating smokestacks on their boat and third went to Steve and Jenny Kreamer and family with Rock the Dixie Like a Wagon Wheel pontoon.
Pier winners were Dave and Andrea Eikenberry featuring the Supra Sassy Pirates “Arrr you missing the Dixie?” Second place was Patty Wine. The third place finishers were Jacob and Stephanie Yahne.
Piers were judged between 12:30-1:30 p.m. by judges Kyle Flumbaum, Robyn Jones, Linda Land and Martha Stoelting. Judging was done on five categories for both piers and boat decor. The parade began at the Webster Lake hole at 4:30 p.m. and went counterclockwise around the lake.
It passed the Dixie boat where board members of the nonprofit Dixie Sternwheeler Inc. held thank you signs. Sock’s Marina’s boat led the parade of approximately 17 boats. Sock’s pontoon had a trumpeter and the Dixie whistle and towed a miniature Dixie replica on a flat bottom boat.
Both pier and boat decor were deemed outstanding for a first time event by the judges. The first place Eikenberry pier featured pirates, Wendy, a LEGO replica Dixie, crocodile, a water spouting cannon and plenty of enthusiasm. The first place boat Hopkins’ Dixie Chix had an operating paddle wheel on the pontoon plus smokestacks.
Organizers Land and Jones are hoping to make this an annual event with the genuine Dixie boat leading the way in 2021.
Sponsors for the event were Sock’s Marina, Bart’s Watersports, Dixie Haven Resort, Webster Lake Conservation Association, The Papers and Oakwood Resort.