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Lack of Funds Kills Wildwoods’ boat Parade – 6.28.2006

By Rick Racela

WILDWOOD – The annual Christmas in July boat parade, originally scheduled for July 22, has been cancelled, Greater Wildwood Jaycees announced June 23.  The Grinch didn’t do it. It was lack of funds, the Jaycees deciding that the parade was “too much for this non-profit organization to handle,” according to a press release. The parade has been a tradition in the Wildwoods for over 15 years, said Jodie DiEduardo, chairperson.  In years past, the Jaycees said it relied on the support of the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority (GWTIDA), Coastal Broadcasting, and Lighthouse Pointe Restaurant. “Without their support, it couldn’t have ever happened,” said DiEduardo.  GWTIDA had provided $10,000 annually for the last two years, but specified the contribution would decrease over time, according to reports. This year, the event received $2,000 from GWTIDA. The plan, according to the Jaycees, was that the event would grow and attract more sponsors, thus, becoming self-sufficient.  “Unfortunately, not many other businesses or organizations in the Wildwoods were willing to help with the event, which costs in excess of $10,000 each year,” the press release stated.  “I’ve sent letters asking for cash donations in the past, and we’ve received gift certificates from various businesses to use as prizes, but we haven’t received monetary donations that could keep the parade going,” explained DiEduardo. In addition, the number of registered boats dropped from approximately 40 boats in 2000 to 16 in 2005. The only portion of the event that was expanding in popularity was the house decorating contest, said DiEduardo. Unfortunately, that was all tied into the parade and will be cancelled as well, she said.  “The event was a huge amount of work,” stated DiEduardo. “Considering all the paperwork and permits involved, we have to start working in April and then run right up until July.” The only annual fundraiser for the organization, the Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Trade show, was cancelled due to poor attendance and dwindling motel rooms in the area.  “(The trade show) decreased to the point where exhibitors were not interested in participating in the event anymore,” according to the Jaycees.    The Jaycees said that it had hoped another organization might  step forward and take over the parade. For more information, the Greater Wildwood Jaycees can be reached at P.O. Box 63, Wildwood, NJ 08260. Contact Huggins at: (609) 886-8600 ext. 25 or lhuggins@cmcherald.com    

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