Water-skiers, live music, a kid’s playland and a variety of watercraft will invade Safety Harbor this weekend, all part of a huge event called the Veterans Boat Show With a Twist of Parrot.
According to organizer Glen Caristinos, the three-day event, which kicks off Friday afternoon at the marina and the waterfont park, was originally part of a plan to raise proceeds for a reef project off the coast of Clearwater.
But since its inception in June, the show has morphed into what promises to be a weekend-long celebration of boats, water and area veterans.
“It all ties in to the Organization of Health and Fitness. They are building and promoting an artificial reef in Pinellas County, and the boat show is to benefit them and those who fish and use the water year ‘round,” Caristinos explained.
After meeting with representatives of the city, Caristinos said he decided to have it at Veterans Marina on Veterans Day weekend to “bring Veteran’s Day back into the heart of the people.”
“We thought Safety Harbor would make a perfect backdrop for the event,“ he added.
In addition to boats, Caristinos said there will be a playland for kids, a sound stage at the end of the causeway for music, a VIP area and free shuttle service to and from the downtown district all weekend.
Vendors will sell food, drink and merchandise, while a number of local veterans’ organizations were given free spaces to promote and explain their causes. Oh, and the world famous Cypress Gardens Water Ski team will perform on the water on Saturday and Sunday.
While questions have been raised about the transparency of the non-profit organization that stands to benefit most from the event, Caristinos assures the reef foundation well as veterans groups will be the main beneficiaries of the event.
“The majority of the proceeds go to the Organization of Health and Fitness to help the reef foundation, and to benefit the entire county,” he said.
“There are approximately 15 non-profit veterans’ groups that are either benefiting by being part of the event or by receiving donations from the proceeds.”
Here is a complete rundown of the Veterans Boat Show With a Twist of Parrot weekend activities.