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Boat parade on Milwaukee River

Photo essay: Annual Milwaukee Riverkeeper Boat Parade rocks Milwaukee River

August 31, 2020  |  Topics: Events

By Eddee Daniel

I arrived at the downtown Riverwalk in plenty of time to scope out a good spot to view the Boat Parade. I discovered a pre-parade parade of all kinds of boats plying the river in both directions.
As I observed in a previous photo essay last summer, kayaks are a major Milwaukee attraction.
Among the innumerable, generic motorboats and pontoon boats two far more unique boats caught my eye in the pre-parade showcase. One was this currach, a traditional Irish row boat, rowed by members of the Irish Currach Club of Milwaukee (according to the sign emblazoned on its side).
This boat, which resembles a miniature barge bearing a miniature Milwaukee Road caboose and several small-scale industrial mining trucks (as well as four actual-sized live humans), I took for one of the Boat Parade boats at first. But it was not.
I staked out a spot on the Wells Street bridge and waited for the parade to show up. Just as I spotted the lead boat, the Milwaukee Riverkeeper boat with its familiar open-mouthed giant fish, the bridge alarm went off and I had to scurry to the side before it rose! I grabbed this one shot but I missed a close up of the first couple boats in the parade.

I made it to the Kilbourn Blvd. bridge in time to catch the rest of the parade.

Protective Mimicry with Leslie Vaglica & Adam Beadel as skippers
Sturgeon Waterfall Temple sponsored by Riveredge Nature Center and Heather Eiden
Breaking Chains Across Cultures by Renaissance Bxtches
Garbage Island featuring Jahmes Finlayson, sponsored by Shannon Molter and Plastic Free MKE
A flamingo and its curious brood by the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center and Teresa Coronado
An on-going river performance by Lex Allen
Live to Play by Linda Freund
We Row as One by All Hands Boatworks
And my personal favorite!
Must Love Frogs by Val Loughran

Related photo essay: Downtown Milwaukee’s river of kayaks

Milwaukee Riverkeeper is a project partner of A Wealth of Nature.

Eddee Daniel is a board member of Preserve Our Parks and curator of The Natural Realm.