Get ready for a night of fun and festivity on the water — the 15th annual Elk River Boat Party, hosted by Mike and Bridgett Jackson with musical performance by Kozmic Mama, is set for 3–7 p.m. Saturday, July 3.
Last year's event was nearly canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Bridgett Jackson said she hopes attendees will continue to practice social distancing and take safety precautions as they gather for this year's party. That said, their family is looking forward to continuing the annual tradition and doing their part to keep community spirits high and hopes afloat.
"The great thing about these events on the water is that it’s outside in the open air and makes it much easier to enjoy and be safe," Jackson said. "... We are so blessed that we have a close-knit community who always seem to come together (and) support each other."
Kozmic Mama will be returning to the stage, having performed at each Elk River Boat Party so far. Jackson said they consider Kozmic Mama "a dear friend who continues to show up and play her heart out."
"Say what you want — she still rolls with the best of them," Jackson said. "Bands come and go, but Mama has been around since 1991. We expect her to come out singing with that awesome voice and ready to rock the river!"
Kozmic Mama performs a variety of original and cover songs, ranging from classic soul, motown, blues and rock. The band was formed in 1991 when Carla Russell, Matt Shook and Bobby Love came together to start a band that has since taken many a stage across North Alabama and southern Tennessee, including as the opening act for Bob Dylan in 1997 and Gladys Knight in 2006.
During boat party intermission, the Jackson will pass out free koozies as a thank-you to everyone for coming. The koozies have an American design and are sponsored by a variety of local companies.
"We are so very thankful for them," Bridgett Jackson said. "We certainly work hard to put this event together; however, it’s the sponsors who truly deserve all the credit."
Finding the party
The Jacksons estimate between 250 and 350 boats attend each year, with some groups planning their entire holiday around the party. Kids can experience ski boarding and tubing, while the Alabama Marine Police and local rescue squad members patrol the event to promote safety and deter littering.
The only way to get to the party is by boat. From the Tennessee River, boaters should head north on the Elk River, under the Lee-Hi (U.S. 72) Bridge, then left on Anderson Creek. The party will be on the right.
The nearest boat launch is the Lee Hi Bridge.
This year's sponsors are as follows:
• Mike Jackson, Mike Jackson Home Builders;
• Randal Perkins, Cajuns Seafood;
• Todd and Miriam Lundy, Lundy’s Landing;
• JJ Brindley, Brindley Construction;
• Ed Murrey, Murrey Chevrolet;
• Driven Benefit Administrators;
• Alex and Dee Patel, Elk River Market;
• John M. Totten, Attorney at Law;
• William G. Matthews, Attorney at Law
• Gayle and Jimmy Biggs, Southern Charm Wedding Venue;
• K.E. Streater, Waste Connections of Alabama;
• Joseph Hastings, E&L Ironworks;
• Sherry McCafferty, SOS Insurance;
• Halston Carter, Grayson Carter & Sons;
• Travis Lewter, Advance Electrical;
• Jonathon Johnson, Classic Signs;
• Jason Ferguson, That Shirt Place;
• Tiffany Pack, Dream Key Realty;
• Wade Boggs, Butler Realty;
• Mike Underwood, TriGreen Equipment;
• Connie and Phil Carpenter, Giles County Furniture;
• Allen Johnson Farms;
• Jamey Wagner, Growing Younger; and
• Rogersville Hardware.