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Franz benefit raises $10K -- News Roundup

Franz benefit raises $10K

Islanders raised $10,780 for injured bicyclist Ernie Franz by attending a benefit concert at Grace Episcopal Church.

“I am just thrilled, just blown away by it,” said Stephen Bryant, violinist, who presented Franz with the proceeds on Saturday.

The Nov. 21 concert was the first by the newly formed Beau Quartet with guest bassist Jon Green.

Franz, an emergency room doctor, was gravely injured in August when he was hit by an alleged drunk driver while riding his bike. Concert proceeds will help fund construction to make his home wheelchair accessible, and help pay for an aide.

After a period in a Silverdale convalescent center, Franz now is undergoing physical therapy at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and is expected home in the next few weeks.

–Rhonda Parks Manville

* * * * *

Ahoy! Holiday boats parade

To the winter holiday traditions of families by the fire and gift giving, Bob Schoonmaker hopes to add boats parading and welcoming the Christmas Ship.

“I love tradition, and boaters actually like boat parades,” Schoonmaker said. “It’s an opportunity for people to get together and socialize and look at what we’re doing.”

The “Christmas Ship” sailed by Seattle-based Argosy Cruises visits harbors around Puget Sound decorated with holiday lights and revelers and carolers onboard.

For the third year, the Chandlery is organizing a boat parade to welcome the Christmas ship when it arrives in Eagle Harbor on Dec. 12 around 6:10 p.m.

New this year will be a decorated boat contest that runs Dec. 1-11, with prizes from marina district restaurants.

In previous years, the Christmas ship would arrive in Eagle Harbor with an area school chorus caroling – but in the dark, it was unclear whether anyone was listening, Schoonmaker said.

When he bought the Chandlery on the Winslow waterfront in 2001, it was with the thought of it becoming a focal point for the fragmented boating community.

Thus began the Chandlery’s role organizing a welcoming parade to the Christmas ship in December and a boat parade the first week in May to celebrate the opening of the boating season.

“The idea is to greet the Argosy to Bainbridge Island, and it’s an excuse for us to get together,” Schoonmaker said. “I hope this tradition will grow larger than me.”

Last December, about 21 boats paraded, gathering off Waterfront Park. Schoonmaker expects even more this year.

He also hopes the May boat parade will also become a tradition as it is in many parts of the country where thousands of boats may participate.

“It’s a time-honored tradition that gets lost because people are not as involved in organizations and clubs,” he said.

Being fragmented is not unique to this community, Schoonmaker is quick to point out.

Boaters are a tough crowd to get together, by nature, Schoonmaker says.

“Boating is a solitary expression of yourself. Organizing boaters is like herding cats,” he said.

But he sees the Christmas ship greeting as an opportunity for boaters and non-boaters to get together.

When the Christmas ship arrives this year, the marina will open docks to let people see boats. Schoonmaker also welcomes calls from non-boaters who are interested in riding on one of the vessels in the parade, noting that many enjoy introducing others to boating.

“I hope the two (parade) events become like the Fourth of July,” Schoonmaker said. “It’s incredibly festive, it’s like a very hometown kind of Christmas spirit with all these colored lights.

“It’s like being a 47-year-old kid.”

People interested in the boat decorating contest or the boat parade should contact Bob Schoonmaker at the Chandlery in advance so that he can ensure there will be enough dock space.

The parade route will depend on the weather.

Call 842-7245 for more information.

– Tina Lieu

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