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Monday, June 1, 2020

Floatilla is Still Happening


29th Annual Cross Lake Floatilla set for June 20 despite Covid-19 crisis

In 1991, a small group of folks and their boats came together on Cross Lake to relax and enjoy the water. A few trophies were handed out to the best decked-out boats (pun intended), and shortly after that, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called the Cross Lake Floatilla was formed.

Today, it is no longer a small group. Last year, the 28th Annual Cross Lake Floatilla attracted 400 boats from as far away as Florida. It is one of the longestrunning floatillas in the United States.

“It’s a big time. It has been every year,” said Keith Grill, vice president of the Cross Lake Floatilla.

On Saturday, June 20, the event returns to Port Au Prince on Cross Lake. Start time is noon, come rain or shine.

Activities will include a decorated boat parade, the famous poker run on water, an inflatable race, live music by Ambush, and a fireworks display after sunset. Food will be available “boatside” or inside Port Au Prince, and food vendors will be on site.

The evening before the event, the public and the event’s sponsors are invited to Bayou Daiquiri on South Lakeshore Drive. Boat parade numbers will be distributed, and T-shirts, poker run tickets and raffle tickets will be sold. A $10 raffle ticket gives you a chance to win a two-night stay at Margaritaville. concert tickets, a child’s party at Sci- Port Discovery Center, gift cards, a Weatherby shotgun and much more.

Forty percent of all Cross Lake Floatilla’s profits benefit several area nonprofits such as Woody’s Home for Veterans and Heart of Hope.

“About five years ago, we saw the potential of this event growing bigger, and we saw an opportunity to give back,” said Secretary Kim French. “We wanted to give money to local charities that don’t get a lot of other outside funding.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, French was concerned that this year’s floatilla would not take place.

After conversations with Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation (SPAR), the decision was made for the boats to float on in 2020.

“The city needs this. Everyone needs this,” she said, adding, “Cross Lake is a huge attraction for the city, and we should continue to draw people here to enjoy it.”

French said the city of Shreveport would be well represented at this year’s event, as they have every year, with police personnel and other first responders on hand for everyone’s safety.

Admittedly, I have not attended a Cross Lake Floatilla, and I was hardly out of diapers when it formed. I asked French if I had to have access to a boat to attend. Absolutely not, she assured me. The public is invited to enjoy the event on the grounds surrounding Cross Lake.

“We do this for the public and want everyone to come,” French said.

She advises boat owners to consider renting a stall at Melvin’s Landing or Barron’s Landing and Marina to launch the day before the event, and for those who plan to attend by car, be sure to have some cash on hand for parking.

Whether you are on a boat that docked at Port Au Prince, The American Legion, El Karubah Shrine, Melvin’s Landing or Barron’s – or you’re on land nearby – all are welcome to attend the 29th Annual Cross Lake Floatilla.

To learn more, and to purchase a T-shirt or raffle ticket, connect with Cross Lake Floatilla at Facebook.com/Floatilla.


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