Trump flags will wave alongside the Stars and Stripes on Sunday as boaters take to Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway for a dual celebration — the US president Donald Trump’s birthday and Flag Day on 14 June.
After nearly two weeks of social justice demonstrations, the theme is set to change on Sunday: Flag Day, which coincides with US President Donald Trump’s 74th birthday.
Trump supporters are planning to be out in full force across the state to celebrate with boat flotillas, truck rallies, motorcycle rides, parties and rallies. So, expect to see lots of American flags interspersed with Trump 2020 banners. The Republican Party plans to conduct voter registration at many of the events.
Here are the events currently planned on Sunday
Palm Beach County
- A “Trucks for Trump” event is a plan for 10 a.m. at the Pirate’s Well, 9477 Alt A1A, Lake Park. The route will go along Interstate 95 to Southern Boulevard, then return north up the highway to the restaurant for a party.
- Vets & Bikers for Trump. Motorcycle riders are invited to meet at 11 a.m. at the Cracker Barrel, 7461 SW Lost River Road, Stuart. They will join the truck caravan travelling south on I-95 to Southern Boulevard, then end their portion of the route at the Harley-Davidson store, 2955 45th St., West Palm Beach. An after-party will be held there.
- A flotilla will assemble at 11:30 a.m. at the Square Grouper, 1111 Love St., in Jupiter. Boaters will head south past Mar-a-Lago and return to Jupiter for an after-party.
- A flotilla will gather at 11:30 a.m. at Sunrise Bay, just west of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, and proceed north to Lake Boca.
Miami-Dade and Monroe counties
- A flotilla will start assembling at 11:30 a.m. near Sunny Isles Beach and head south at noon to Miami. Boaters are encouraged to reserve a spot.
- A boat parade in the Upper Keys will start at noon Sunday at Gilbert’s Resort, 107900 Overseas Highway, Key Largo. Boats will begin lining up at 11:30 a.m.
Elsewhere in Florida
- The Villages, a retirement community in Central Florida that frequently hosts Trump and events for Gov. Ron DeSantis, will host a golf-cart parade.
- Jacksonville: Trumptilla floatilla, 11 a.m.
- Tampa Bay: Trumptilla floatilla, 11 a.m.
- Pensacola: Boaters parade, 12:15 p.m., with 2 p.m. after-party.
Gavidia promoted a Trump boat parade on Facebook and at least 1,500 boats showed up.
So, “What a bold statement to make,” Gerland said.
Trump has acknowledged some of the boat parades on Twitter.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2020
Gerland said a 60-foot Marquis yacht will lead the Tampa parade. She’ll be riding on a 26-foot bay boat owned by her 50-year-old significant other, Pete Gardner.
US President Donald Trump’s birthday
People with land vessels are getting in on the act, too, Sunday. Donald Trump president Team 2020 Florida, a group with more than 20 chapters statewide, is helping organize at least 12 Trump parades for boats, trucks, motorcycles and golf carts. The golf cart parade is happening in the Villages, the largest retirement community in the US. At the golf cart parade and others organized by Trump Team 2020 Florida, participants will be able to register to vote.
In the months before the 2016 presidential election, Florida was the scene of a number of Trump campaign rallies, including a July 31 event at the Florida State Fairgrounds that drew an estimated 10,000 people. Trump had planned a rally in Tampa for March but cancelled it as the coronavirus spread.
So, the rallies Sunday design to foster unity. While honouring the American flag, paying respect to Trump and supporting police, service members, doctors and nurses, says Annie Marie Delgado, the Trump team president.
“We’re just taking a nice little ride and honouring the American flag, which is going to be flown on every single track, every single boat, every single motorcycle along with president Trump’s flag,” says Delgado, 61.
Celebrate the positive
The parades also are a chance to celebrate the positive, Delgado says, at a time when hundreds across the country are dying from coronavirus each day and demonstrations enter the third week in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody.
“People are sick and tired. They’re fed up. They’ve had enough”.
Still, some don’t see this as a time for celebration.
Gerland says she at least eight Facebook posts advertising the parade remove or censor. Because of the negative comments, they attract. But one post on a Tampa Bay Facebook group attracts about 600 comments, she says, most of them negative. The post later deleted.
One comment came from Melonie Gee, 44, who says it seems cowardly to be out on boats celebrating Trump while people are demonstrating for justice.
“I feel that they are going into the middle of the ocean because they don’t want to hear the cries of their own community,” Gee said.
Gerland said she took screenshots of some comments, including one about throwing bricks at the parade, and reported them to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Pete Gardner said he hopes to have a police presence at the parade in case there are problems.
“The foul language and the harassment and name-calling. So it’s really open my mind to realize how different people in America are, especially politically thinking,” Gerland says.