The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 2, 2013

Down on the river: 7th annual Elk River Boat Party set for Saturday

By Lora Scripps

— A lazy day full of music, friends and fun — Does that sound like your kind of party?

If so, the river is calling. It’s time again for the Elk River Boat Party July 6.

The seventh annual event, which happens every year the Saturday closet to the Fourth of July, has Elk River lovers coming back year after year.

It’s been described as a time to “let loose” and a place to “Anchor out, float around and party on down.”

Started by Mike Jackson and his daughter Beth at the Jackson home near the mouth of the Elk River and Anderson Creek, the party has become a tradition that includes hundreds of boats that raft together on the river.

From bass boats to pontoons and houseboats to jet skis, everyone ties up for the family-friendly party and spends the day floating on the water and visiting with others boat to boat.

The day features live music by Kozmic Mama and ends with a 40-minute fireworks show.

This year, boaters are encouraged to decorate their vessels. Boats will be judged and a prize will be given for the best boat on the river.

Beth said organizers also plan to have koozies for boaters. “Prior to the band starting, we have a ‘koozie launcher’ and we’ll be sending them out to the boats from the pier,” she said. “It’s really fun to see everyone catch them and fight over them.”

In years past, hundreds of boats have made it out to Anderson Creek. Last year, Mike said more than 300 boaters made the party a success, which is up about 100 boats from the previous year.

For Mike, the day is worth it. Throughout the year, he is asked about the party, and the day after, people ride back up the river to tell him thanks.

“I really enjoy it,” he said. “Everybody seems to look forward to it year round.”

“We are super excited as always,” Beth said. “It will be here before we know it.”

The party, which starts at 3 p.m. Saturday and lasts until dark, is free to the public.

The Elk River boat party is a boat-only event. From the Tennessee River, go north on the Elk River and under Lee Hi Bridge (U.S. 72). Then, left into Anderson Creek. The party is on the right.  The nearest boat launch is the Lee Hi Bridge boat launch on U.S. 72.

Sponsors of the event include Mike Jackson Home Builders, Haney Equipment, Alabama Life Chiropractic, Grayson Carter & Son Contracting, Warren’s BP, Twice the Ice, McCrary and Alley Endodontics, Quality Vinyl Wholesalers, Lin-Z-Dru’s, Advanced Electrical Services, Flagstone Contracting, Gerald’s Auto Body, Triple Crown Properties and Classic Sign Works.

Athens-Limestone Rescue Squad will be on-site and the Alabama Marine Police will patrol near the party to ensure partygoers have a safe holiday weekend.