Lake Murray welcomes an armada of Trump faithful to boat parade

A devotee of President Donald Trump unfurled allegiance to America, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the President during the Lake Murray Trump Boat Parade. Photo courtesy of Teresa Harmon Pierce

A new world record likely was set this past Sunday on the beautiful waters of Lake Murray, as the first Lake Murray Trump Boat Parade saw more than 3,000 boats out on the lake in support of President Donald Trump.

The parade covered about a 20-mile route starting near Dreher Island and ending at Suzie Elbert Island near Ballentine.  Boats of countless colors, shapes, and sizes floated – and at times sped – through the often rough waters to display flags and other memorabilia to rally for President Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.  Boats – and some people themselves – were decorated with everything Trump: banners, flags (including quite a few Confederate battle flags), T-shirts, bright-red “Make America Great Again” caps, swimsuits, even Trump mannequins.

Lake Murray took the national spotlight for this one-day event, with Fox News reporting live early on Sunday morning. Over at Riverwinds Marina at Black’s Bridge, boats began coming out earlier than usual after a long July 4th Saturday.

“Usually the day after the Fourth, boaters start coming out slowly and later in the day, but today they started getting gas and loading their boats around 9:30 or 10 a.m.,” said Colten List and Garrett Smith, both employees at the marina. “Everyone seems to be headed to the parade.”

The closer boaters came to Dreher Island, the view became all red, white, and blue. Skydivers could be seen flying right underneath the clouds, and planes and helicopters circled around the area. One participant commented that Lake Murray seemed to turn into an ocean for a day with all the large vessels and raging waves.

One boater from Joanna, South Carolina, who had been vacationing on the lake this weekend was in a small fishing boat and attempted to get into the parade route, but he said the waves were just too big for his vessel. He decided to lay low and watch the other boats.

“Trump had gotten the economy to a great place until the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’m here to support him,” the boater said when asked what he thought to be the President’s biggest accomplishment in office.

Jason Cline and Brian Brandstader, both of the Lake Murray area, were the backbone behind this event.  Cline and Brandstader are good friends and worked to make the Trump Boat Parade something that families would enjoy over the holiday weekend while supporting the President.

“It takes a village to come together to make an event like this successful,” Cline said. “We were thrilled with everyone’s cooperation, especially the amazing coordination of DNR (the Department of Natural Resources) and other local and state authorities who were there with us all day.”

In the end, the final count of boats participating in the parade was 3,417, which breaks the world record for the largest boat parade ever, Cline said.  According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the previous record-holder, held in September 2014 in Terengganu, Malaysia, saw 1,080 boats.

The estimated number of attendees Sunday was 30,753 by the organizers’ count. Many spectators were astounded by the scene of several thousand pontoons, speedboats and even jon boats on the water covered in Trump paraphernalia.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before! After the last few months of bad news and negative reporting, it is refreshing to see such a unified group of Americans who want to make America great again,” said Teresa Harmon Pierce, a Lake Murray resident, who was there with her family.

And united the Trump faithful were for this one Sunday, July 5, 2020, on the waters of Lake Murray, South Carolina.

Some participants took to the water accompanied by life-size cutouts of the President.