BELTON — Enthusiasm abounded Saturday afternoon at the Lake Belton boat parade in support of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
The boat parade was scheduled for 4-6 p.m., but by 3 p.m. a good-sized flotilla had started filling the area near the dam and landlubbers lined the chain-link fences along the shoreline. The sky was partly cloudy and there was a pleasant breeze.
“This is not a race,” the unnamed coordinator said over a very good public address system. “When we do decide to take off at 4 … follow the lead boat. Look on Facebook so you’ll know your order. This is for your safety and everybody else’s.”
Once the estimated 650 boats got in a semblance of order, all of the onlookers stood while someone sang the national anthem, and the 6-mile-an-hour parade took off. There were so many U.S. flags that no one knew which way to face.
The drawn-up route was around Temple Lake Park, followed by a left turn curving around Morgan’s Point Resort, and then the finish on the peninsula east of Cedar Ridge Park. One of the onlookers said it was called Sandy Point.
Dorothy and Larry Schulze of Temple were in the crowd lined up along the fence behind the Overlook Pavilion.
“We had to come out here,” Dorothy said. “This is wonderful. Everybody we’ve met has been so friendly. Everybody’s in an excellent mood.”
They came early and found a shaded spot for their lawn chairs. They had cold bottled water and someone was serving free snow cones. She said Republican Party leaders were registering people to vote at the nearby marina.
“The weather couldn’t be any better,” she said.
Her husband chimed in: “And there are no riots and everyone is friendly.”
“I’ll kind of be glad when this is over,” Dorothy said of the election.
She’s glad the mail-in voting issue has been settled, she said.
“I’ve worked in elections in Milam County and Bell County,” she said. “If you can go to Lowe’s and Walmart, you can go and stand in line to vote, too.”
Barbara Wilson, who has operated Wilson School of Art in Morgan’s Point Resort for 40 years, said the boat parade was an artistic opportunity.
“I’m looking this over,” she said. “I’ve been taking pictures, so some of the students will probably want to paint it. I’m out here with my friends.”
Her students do drawing, acrylic, pastels, oil painting and color pencil art, she said.
“With all these flags, it will be neat,” she said.
Casey Bragewitz said he was born and raised in Belton.
“I wish I was out there,” he said. “I grew up on this lake. I fished it. I had fun on it. I know it like the back of my hand.”
Karen Dierks of Round Rock said she and a friend went to the Lake Travis boat parade last weekend.
“We found this,” she said. “I was coming up, so we didn’t’ want to miss it. We’re out here with like minded people that enjoy life and living in the United States of America — the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Edward and Debbie Fasolino of Belton, who live nearby on the lake, were among the onlookers.
“It’s wonderful to show support for our president and the job he’s done for the past three and a half years,” Edward said.
They would have joined the parade with their Jet Ski, but said the boat ramps were swamped.