Boat Parade

A local Boy Scout troupe follows behind the Madam Carroll and carries signs that say "Boy Scouts 4 Vets" in the 2021 Independence Day Boat Parade.

MONTICELLO — The Fourth of July holiday weekend in Monticello is truly a spectacle to behold. It is a holiday for everyone, and this resort town has something to offer the whole family. Citizens and visitors in the surrounding area around this lake community will come together on Saturday, July 2, to celebrate our nation and to honor the men and women who have served, both in our armed forces and to their community.

Active or veteran military service members, along with first responders, will be honored by receiving free admission to the Lake Freeman Independence Day Boat Parade, aboard the Madam Carroll, Indiana’s largest boat. The Boat Parade itself is open to anyone with a boat or watercraft, and they encourage everyone to come to Lake Freeman to partake in this event. Boats can enter a decoration contest to show their patriotic flair, or simply ride along and enjoy this holiday cruise.

Any individual who meets the criteria of an active or veteran military service member or first responder is asked to register for a seat aboard the Madam Carroll in advance of Saturday, July 2. Registration can be done through a link on the Madam Carroll website at or by calling 574-581-1131. Each registration will also be awarded a spot for one guest. Food and beverages will be available on the lower deck, and a bar will be open to purchase adult beverages for those over 21 years of age. Music will also be played throughout the cruise by DJ Joe Davenport.

Boarding begins at 8:15 a.m., and there will be golf carts on hand, along with local authorities and event staff, to assist in parking and to help any disabled veterans or guests on to the boat. At 9 a.m., the opening ceremonies will commence, featuring the presentation of colors, a 21 gun salute, and the singing of our National Anthem. These ceremonies will be conducted by our various Veterans organizations throughout White and Carroll Counties. The boat departs the dock at 9:30 a.m., and will journey down the lake to meet up with the parade boats at the Oakdale Dam at 11 a.m. The parade begins at 11 a.m. and will make its voyage over the entire length of Lake Freeman, ending at 12:30 p.m. back at the dock of the Madam Carroll.

There is no registration required for those who wish to have a watercraft in the parade; however, boat’s who wish to be judged on their decoration will have to register in advance, or on the morning of the parade (with an official stationed at the Oakdale Dam) from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Registration can be done on a separate link on the Madam Carroll website, or by calling 574-581-1131. Registration is free of charge, and the winner of the decoration contest will be awarded a prize at the conclusion of the parade. Judging will take place from 12:30 - 1 p.m. as the boats pass by the deck of the Sportsmann Inn Restaurant. All are welcomed to visit the Sportsmann, Kopacetic, or Oakdale Dam Inn before, during, or after the parade.

The day will feature a separate cruise on the Madam Carroll, beginning at 7 p.m., for the Lake Freeman Fireworks Show. This event is open to all to attend and seats are available for purchase aboard the Madam Carroll. The best fireworks show over water awaits to conclude this truly awesome spectacle and celebration of our nation's independence.

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