By Connie Leinbach
When high winds forced the postponement of the Holiday Boat Parade from Friday to Saturday, several boaters who had said they would join in weren’t there.
As dusk turned to dark, the only lighted boat was the Windfall II, but it was at dock since Capt. Rob Temple was away.
A group of islanders and visitors gathered at the Community Square dock for the event, but no boats of any kind appeared.
People started dispersing when, suddenly, one sailboat, lighted up and anchored at the Anchorage Marina, set sail.
A whoop went up on the dock among those remaining.
“You saved Christmas!” one person yelled into the darkness as the sailboat quietly motored around Silver Lake to cheers from others awaiting the spectacle.
Sundae Horn, event organizer, said the Friday wind forecast made the harbor choppy, prompting the postponement.
The little catboat that saved Saturday night’s parade is owned by Christopher and Brynley Farr of South Carolina. Farr’s boat was in the parade last year, Horn said. The family enjoyed it so much they came back this year.
“He’s a one-man parade,” Horn said as she filmed the display, viewable on Facebook at Ocracoke Holiday Boat Parade. “Not as exciting as 2020 but, to be honest, we had nothing else going on last Christmas because of COVID-19.”
This year, with the pandemic not as raging, people are traveling more, doing other things, she noted.
Last year there were 12 boats and the minimum before Saturday was four, she said. Four is what she expected for Saturday night until she heard that the other three decided not to participate.
Earlier in the day for Small Business Saturday, several local businesses showcased their wares inside the Berkley Barn for the Holiday Market, sponsored by the Ocracoke Civic & Business Association.
The OCBA’s holiday lights competition, Island Celebration, will be Dec. 18. Those who want their houses to be judged should have their lights set by dark.