LAKE MURRAY — A beauty queen, police officer, tourism expert, entertainment aficionado and hospital representative boarded the Southern Patriot on Saturday to judge the Lake Murray boat parade.
The theme for the parade, in its 24th year, was Red, White and Bling.
Bling also rested on the head of Miss Greater Irmo Janie Davis, who donned her crown and sash for the parade.
Davis had experience judging pageants but never a boat parade. When she judges pageants, she said, she looks for the overall package the charisma of the person and how put together he (she has judged male pageants, too) or she is.
She planned to look at the overall package of the boats, and, of course, the bling factor.
I love glitter, Davis said.
She said a challenge judging the parade was the speed of the boats.
Theyre going by pretty fast so you have to make a quick judgment and go with it, Davis said. You cant second-guess yourself.
Jim Crawford with the Columbia Police Department was more concerned with the patriotism of the boats than the sparkle.
A former boat captain in the Coast Guard, his three favorite holidays are Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day.
Crawfords hair battled against the breeze.
Miss Irmo, I know youve got some hairspray, he joked.
Crawford was the only male judge, and he said that womens tastes are typically better than mens.
I say women run the world, Crawford said.
One woman who has judged the Lake Murray boat parade for at least five years is Cherie Had, who retired from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
Shes seen the parade grow through the years and said the boats have gotten prettier and more creative.
Creativity was what Truth Freeman paid attention to while she judged. Freeman has worked in the entertainment industry acting and writing, and she also judged the local Palmetto Idol contest in June.
In the singing contest, she took into account stage presence, vocals and song choice.
But creativity whether there was too little or overkill was what she looked for in the parade.
For the top creative boat, it always ends up being close, said one of the judges, Barbara Willm, Lexington Medical Centers vice president of community relations.
The first-place boat had no name, but everyone referred to it as The Balloon Boat because it had so many balloons and American flags.
But in a close second, the King of Bling, entertained the judges with an Elvis impersonator on board.
The third-place boat was named Dunn Deal, and the owner, David Dunn, said it was a classic boat with classic decorations on his registration form for the parade.
All of the boats in the parade passed through crowds of boats on Lake Murray celebrating the Fourth of July.
Its just such a great time for the community to come together and celebrate our country, Willm said.
Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657.