Wednesday, August 16th-Sunday, August 20th
(Published August 16, 2006, 8:48 a.m.)
Whatever barca (boat) is your pleasure, your barca da pesca (fishing
trawler), motoscafo (motorboat) or barca a vela (sailboat), hang lights
from the prua (bow), coperta (deck), l'albero (mast) and poppa (stern)
and scialuppa (launch) into the waters of Geneva Lake for the annual
ci leggero (lighted) boat parade.
Actually, contrary to popular belief, the lighted boat parade is not
an Italian tradition. But Geneva Lake will be lit up on Sunday evening
as part of the annual Venetian Festival.
Though the tradition of lighted boats began in Italy for functional
purposes of traveling the maze of Venetian canals after sunset, the
first lighted boat parade was held right here in the United States on
July 4, 1908, in Newport Beach, Calif., according to Newport Beach's
Christmas Boat Parade Web site.
The parade, however, was the brainchild of an Italian gondolier, John
Scarpa, and Joseph Beek, a developer. They called it the Tournament
Their annual Tournament of Lights parade continues in Newport Beach,
Calif., and around the world todayoincluding, for the 44th consecutive
year, Lake Geneva.
This week kicks off the Lake Geneva's annual Venetian Festival, with
the highly anticipated lighted boat parade as its grand finale. The
festival began Aug. 16 and continues through Aug. 20.
Spectators will line the shores of Geneva Lake on Aug. 20 at 6 p.m.
to watch the Wonder Lake Water Ski Club perform followed by the spectacular
sites of the lighted boats as they glide along the lake for the conclusion
of the five-day festival. Fireworks will be at dusk.
The Venetian Festival relates to Geneva Lake's signature activities
and lifestyle with tons of family fun, a carnival, craft fair, fireworks,
tons of food and beverage vendors and a wide daily variety of musical
Live music will include Martha Berner on Thursday from 8 p.m.-midnight
and The Toys on Friday from 8 p.m.-midnight. Saturday will include Petty
Thieves from 2-6 p.m. and Halfway Jane from 8 p.m.-midnight. Sunday's
music will be Steppin' Out from 1-5 p.m. and Voices from 7-11 p.m.
"The Venetian Festival has been a fixture in the Lake Geneva area for
more than four decades," said Andy Kerwin, president of the Lake Geneva
Jaycees. "Each year, we see more and more visitors ... taking advantage
of the many attractions the Lake Geneva area has to offer."
The craft fair will be held at Library Park Aug. 19-20 and special
wristband carnival ride discount days will be held during the festival.
"Seeing the thousands of smiling faces lining the Geneva Lake shoreline
makes all the hard work an afterthought," said Kerwin.
For more information call the Lake Geneva Area Convention and Visitor's
Bureau at (800) 345-1020 or visit www.lakegenevawi.com.