SARATOGA LAKE – More than 100 boats filled with Donald Trump supporters took to Saratoga Lake flying an array of of flags -- American flag, Trump 2020, Back the Blue -- in a parade Monday afternoon.
The flags waved stiffly in the wind as the maritime parade started from the south end near the South Shore Marina and headed east before turning back into the wind.
With winds approaching 14 mph on the return, the more organized flow of vessels that started the event quickly broke out to a scattered race of skill and patience returning to the south end.
“I started organizing this two weeks ago on the fly to help support our president,” Malta Town Councilman and Deputy Supervisor Craig Warner said by phone after the event Monday. “There was a great turnout, 100 to 125 boats on the water.
“We didn't have any issues, we were compliant, no one got hurt, but I'll tell you something, those waves coming back were something.”
Despite the strong winds and immense chop from the slower moving speedboats on the return, Warner said all participants arrived back to their original destinations intact.
“I was trying to do something that was positive. It was not a protest, it was a Labor Day, end of summer, where everybody could get together with their families and have a day to get out there and fly their flag,” Warner said.
South Shore Marina co-owner Joseph DiDonna, 75, of Saratoga Lake said Monday’s event was the largest lake event he has ever seen.
“I was going out with Pete [Hansen], I wanted to see what was going on,” DiDonna said. “I'm a die hard Trump supporter in a lot of ways and I wanted to see what was going on because I belong to the lake association.”
His passenger, Pete Hansen, 72, of Saratoga Lake, also enjoyed the trip. He was soaked on the return to shore, but was almost dry as the pontoon boat traveled along the shore and the wind became a natural air dryer for his T-shirt and shorts.
“There were probably 30 of my friends out there and you couldn't even see which ones were which, there were so many boats out there,” Hansen said, surprised his American and Trump 2020 flags remained attached to his makeshift flag pole. “We'll go out and have a couple of cocktails and we'll see who made it.”
The event drew families of Trump supporters, including Tony Goudreau of Scotia, who enjoyed his second Trump flotilla outing with his family.
“We were down in Hampton last weekend, took my RV down and we knew we would find a Trump supporter that would let us get on their boat,” Goudreau said after loading his boat onto his trailer at South Shore Marina. “We took a shot, drive the two-and-a-half hours down and had a great time.”
He drove his speedboat with his nephew, stepfather, wife, and mother in Monday’s water parade.
“This is better than being out burning and looting and hurting people, just showing support for our president and the country,” he said.
With more than 100 boats participating in the event, Goudreau said it could always be larger.
“We'd always love to see more, there are more boats on the lake that weren't in the parade, but some Trump people have to work,” he said. “Sometimes we have to go to work, but every once in a while, you have to take a day off and show support. That's what we do.”
With Monday’s event complete, Warner said his rally duties are probably complete for the election cycle.
“At this point I'm just trying to back the president and hear all the voices in town, and they are varied, believe me,” Warner said.
Reach Stan Hudy at [email protected] and follow on Twitter at @StanHudy.
Correction 9/8 3:05 p.m.: The name of South Shore Marina co-owner is Joseph DiDonna. An earlier version of this article included an incorrect first name.