After the success of the first Henley Illuminated Boat Parade last September, organisers have set the date for the 2023 event of Saturday 16 September.
Last year the parade included a Ghostbusters boat, Viking and pirate ships, rowing and dragon boats, Lily the big yellow duck and paddleboarders which were lit up lights and there were firing beacons and fireworks to add to this wonderful spectacle. Crowds lined the towpath and others enjoyed a view from the Leander Club terrace which was open to the public.
The idea for the event was resident Chris Taylor who had previously organised the event in Cookham with the help of a group of volunteers. After the event, Chris said “It was as successful as we dared hope it would be. We were a bit apprehensive as it was first time in Henley. Everybody made an amazing effort and there was a fantastic crowd – far bigger than we thought it would (we think about 2000 people). We are absolutely thrilled and it was beyond our expectations. It made the town really came alive with the whole riverside lit up. It was a really joyful experience and a fabulous local event.”
There was also a competition with winners for best in parade, best fancy dress on board, best music boat, best unpowered boat and best spectact0r which were judged by Debbie McGee, Bethan Toop, Dhani Harrison and Henley Mayor Michelle Thomas. DJ Mike Read provided the commentary. The Best in Parade was won by Bell Surgery’s Dr Chris Langley’s boat, Scarlet Lady (photo above) which was lit up in the shape of a crown entitled ‘Very Regal’ inspired by the state funeral and the imperial state crown on the coffin.
Chris said, “We thought we’d get the date out there early so that people can put the date in the diary and boat owners can start planning their entries.”
For more information and to register go to https://www.illuminatedparade.com/