Madam Carroll

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The Independence Day Boat Parade will begin at 11 a.m. at the Oakdale Dam and will run the length of the lake from the dam to Luse Bridge, with the finish and Boat Decoration contest judging on the deck of The Sportsman Inn.

MONTICELLO – The area’s annual boat parade on Lake Freeman is back on.

The previously canceled Fourth of July event will be known this year as the 2020 Lake Freeman Independence Day Boat Parade: Honoring Our Hometown Heroes.

The boat parade was originally canceled May 7 by the 2020 Patriotic Boat Parade and Celebration in City Park committee because of concerns about the COVID-19 health emergency and the risk to elderly military veterans. But some members of that committee, according to member Matt McKean, didn’t want to see it totally disappear for the year.

“We worked out a situation that was comfortable for everyone involved,” he said. “We felt that we could plan an event safe enough for most of the population, and well within the guidelines of the governor’s ‘Back on Track Indiana’ plan.”

According to the “Back on Track Indiana” plan, the state will be in the first day of Stage 5, which essentially means most, if not all, businesses, venues, entertainment, ect., will be fully reopened while still keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to wear face coverings and social distance from others.

McKean noted that CDC guidelines will be followed pertaining to crowds, and temperature checks will be administered before boarding the Madam Carroll. High-risk individuals, he added, are asked to stay home or observe the parade from a location that allows for better social distancing.

“There was no reason to do away with the parade or the trip on Madam Carroll,” McKean said. “All we had to do was adjust the parameters. There will still be plenty of people out on the Lake, and we think we can give them a good show and get people back into good spirits.”

The day will begin on the docks of the Madam Carroll, with boarding and check-in beginning at 8 a.m. The MC will set sail at 9 a.m., cruise the lake, and meet up with other parade vessels at the Oakdale Dam at about 10:30 a.m.

The Independence Day Boat Parade will begin at 11 a.m. at the Oakdale Dam and will run the length of the lake from the dam to Luse Bridge, with the finish and Boat Decoration contest judging on the deck of The Sportsman Inn.

A patriotic flyover by the Hooligans, which returns yet again for another performance, will take place near the parade finish, and will stretch the entire length of Lake Freeman.

The cruise will dock and conclude at 1 p.m.

First responders, medical professionals, nursing staff and military personnel, along with a guest, will be granted free admission on the Madam Carroll. Those who meet that criteria are asked to register for a spot before July 4 as space is limited and quickly fills.

Registration can be done online at: www.madamcarroll.com; by calling the SFLECC office at 574-583-9784; or the Enjoy White County office at 574-313-1421.

People must be 21 and older to ride in the lower lounge of the Madam Carroll. Drinks will be available for purchase in the Luse Lounge and music will be played throughout the cruise.

The boat parade is open to any person or group with a water vessel and are encouraged to decorate boats, ride along or watch. Boat owners who wish to participate in the decoration contest must register in advance or on the morning of the parade (with an official stationed at the Oakdale Dam) between 9:30-10:30 a.m. Registration, which is free, can also be done on Facebook at Lake Freeman Fireworks, or by calling 574-581-1131.

The day will conclude with a separate evening cruise on the Madam Carroll and the Lake Freeman Fireworks Show at dusk over the lake. Boarding will begin at 7 p.m. and tickets are available for purchase online for $20 at the madamcarroll.com, or at the ticket window, if available.

“It’s a day for celebration on many accounts, and some of us didn’t feel right abandoning the idea,” McKean said. “I think the whole country needs something like this right now.”