Boat parade returns for 2016 River-Cade

July 16, 2016

SIOUX CITY | The first Missouri River boat parade in two decades will be part of the 2016 River-Cade festivities, which begin Saturday.

The boat parade will be at 7 p.m. Thursday and will be followed by a fireworks display at 10:30 p.m.

“[The boat parade] is just about one of the coolest things you can see,” said Phil Claeys, River-Cade event coordinator. “It’s pretty impressive, and then with the fireworks it’s even better, because everybody in the boats turns their lights on.”

The fireworks following the boat parade will not take place at Anderson Pavilion. Spectators may watch the boat parade from both sides of the river, but the best place to watch is from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Chris Larson Park. People are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs and set up camp in the field or the parking lot.

Boaters who wish to participate do not need to register. The boats will promenade from the boat ramp up to the bridge.

The traditional parade has been an annual favorite for more than 50 years and will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday in downtown Sioux City. The parade will not feature fireworks afterward, as it has in the past.

This year’s traditional parade will follow a different route than usual. It begins at the corner of Fifth and Douglas streets, proceeds to 10th Street, and ends at Fourth and Pierce streets.

That parade will include Capt. Paul Young of the USS Sioux City, who has been named this year’s parade marshal. Young’s service is based in Mayport, Florida.

River-Cade is the longest running festival in Sioux City, and has donated $400,000 in scholarships to its royal court. Its 2016 festivities are an attempt to restore it to its former glory and remind the community that River-Cade belongs to Siouxland, according to Claeys.

River-Cade has not been without hurdles in recent years, including declining attendance and loss of major events. The festival was removed from the riverfront for a number of years due to flooding and construction, and has had to change its traditional parade route. River-Cade also suffered roof damage to its offices last August.

Claeys has called for community involvement in order to revitalize the festival.

“It’s the ultimate celebration of us. We’re celebrating that we’re on the river, we love the Missouri River, we’re a river town, and we’re damn proud,” said Claeys.

More information is available at river-cade.com.