PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Although July 4th parades and festivals have been cancelled due to COVID-19, hundreds of residents took their own parade to the water this Independence Day.
The event, called ‘Trumptilla,’ mimics other boat parade rallies for President Trump that have happened around the state.
Panama City Beach resident Kim Brown is one of the organizers of the event; she said watching it all come together after weeks of planning was a surreal experience.
“It gave me goosebumps, it really gave me goosebumps,” she said. “It’s just a really special day for all of us and I hope that everyone can celebrate America.”
More than one hundred boats lined up for the parade across the St. Andrew Bay, starting under the Hathaway Bridge at 10:30 a.m..
Boats were decorated with flags, showing support for President Trump, the country and our first responders.
“The thin blue line, let’s not forget our police officers,” said Jeanne Finney, who was on the boat leading the parade. “We support them here in Bay County.”
On shore, the Bay County Republicans offered their own support for the parade.
“It’s Independence Day and to have people showing their support and that they do believe in their country, that’s what I hope they get out of it,” said Debbie Wood, the Bay County Republicans Chairwoman.
Finney said it all met expectations even with some bumps on the road, or water.
“I think for the first one, it turned out really well,” Finney said. “I think because we’ve got some damage still from Hurricane Michael we’ve got less people and also the weather was a little deterrent but we had over 130 boats today so it was a pretty good turnout for the first go-around.”
Brown said that for her, the message is clear.
“He is our president, it’s about the birth of America and it’s about our law enforcement that have always been there to keep us safe,” she said.