Flotilla soldiers on despite snow

Published 10:26 am Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Staff Writer

Dozens of people had no apparent qualms about standing in the snow to see the Washington Christmas Flotilla on Saturday night.
In fact, some attendees said the wintry weather enhanced the annual event, infusing it with a festive feeling that was heightened as snacks were handed out and keyboardist Lorenzo Wertz played holiday tunes.
“We come here every year by boat to watch this thing,” said Tommy Poe of the Portside community.
Poe motored to the waterfront with five or six other people on board the 29-foot Justanutha Mutha.
The boat was decorated with lights, but wasn’t part of the flotilla, though Poe joked it should have been considered an honorary entry.
Like other boat parade-watchers who lined the railings on the promenade by the Pamlico River, Poe had no qualms about getting out in the cold and damp.
“We come down here every Wednesday, rain or shine, for shrimp and the cold beer at (Pirate’s Grill &Pub),” he said. “Every Friday night we take it to Backwater Jack’s. … We use it just about 365, all year long.”
WITN meteorologist Jim Howard co-hosted the flotilla with Lynn Lewis, the City of Washington’s tourism-development director.
“First of all, I never would have expected to be doing one of these in the snow,” Howard told the crowd, adding more flakes were likely to fall overnight Saturday (and fall they did).
Howard asked if his audience was enjoying the snow, to which many of its members replied with a near-concerted yell of enthusiasm.
“I think it went great, despite the weather,” said Beth Byrd, executive director of the Washington Harbor District Alliance, which oversaw the flotilla, along with the Pamlico Sail &Power Squadron.
“There were still a lot of people out there,” Byrd said. “We haven’t received any complaints. I think everybody had a great time. It was truly remarkable that it was snowing.”