What began as a group of hundreds of boaters in June showing support for President Donald Trump has now grown to a larger expression for the Labor Day weekend that plans to incorporate not just the water but the land and the sky, as well.
A grassroots gathering Saturday called “Land, Sea and Air for Donald Trump,” will involve a flotilla through the lakes, a motorcade through Marshall County, and even an airplane banner, helicopter and skydivers overhead.
“It’s kind of a way to get out of the house and show support for the president and the conservative values he offers,” said Keith Travis, who is events coordinator for the Marshall County GOP, which is helping to organize the event.
Scott Brown was the initial organizer of a large flotilla in June travel along Kentucky Lake with Trump campaign flags flying.
“I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen that many watercraft together at one time,” Travis said.
Brown was planning another similar effort for the Labor Day weekend and asked local Republican Party members if they could help organize a complimentary event.
“We talked about doing a motorcade, then it grew from the sea and land to now we have a plane that will fly over the flotilla and motorcade with a big Trump banner,” Travis said.
That then expanded to include skydivers with Trump flags for a grand finale Saturday afternoon.
“It grew into a much larger operation,” he added. “It seemed like every day there’s another component. We’ve had lots of volunteers and people interested.”
The schedule will begin at 8 a.m. with boats leaving Kenlake Marina and heading to the Moors Marina. At 8:30, the motorcade will gather at the “Land” portion’s staging area at South Marshall Elementary School and leave at 9:15 a.m. and travel through Benton and Draffenville to arrive at Kentucky Dam beach in time for the flotilla and airplane banner, which is sponsored by Dean Owen CPA.
At 10 a.m., the boats will form their own water parade and travel from Moors Resort to the beach area at the dam, then on to Lighthouse Landing, Hu-B’s in Kuttawa, the rock quarry, and end at Smith Bay at approximately 2 p.m. for an after party.
People are encouraged to “pack the shore” to watch the boat parade and plane banner and watch the helicopter and skydivers, sponsored by Mitchell’s Towing and Roadside Assistance, splash down around Smith Bay at around 2:30 p.m.
Travis noted that the Marshall County School District and marinas are not affiliated or sponsors of the event.
The event will also feature a DJ who will be at South Marshall Elementary to help organize, make announcements and play music until the motorcade gets underway. They will then take the sound system to Kentucky Dam to provide music when the motorcade parade and flotilla arrive.
News of the event has attracted some interest from outside the Land Between the Lakes area. Travis said he had heard from a man in Elizabethtown who planned to bring his pontoon boat to Kentucky Lake to take part in the event. Another person has a restored M151A2 Jeep that will lead the motorcade with perhaps four or five other Army Jeeps.
“Fire trucks, motorcycles, you name it,” he said. “It’ll be a non-conventional motorcade, but that kind of speaks to the broad appeal the president has in Kentucky.”
Travis said participants can even wait until later in the evening for fireworks displays.
Both he and Brown emphasized that safety for such an event is a top priority and that Marshall County’s emergency management and rescue squads will use Saturday as a training day and be available should anything be required.
Brown said boats will need to obey boating laws, allow proper distancing and safe navigation to adhere to all idle zones or no boat areas.
Organizers are also asking people to abide by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines related to COVID-19.
“It’s just a voluntary gathering of people who share conservative values,” Travis added.