SMITH LAKE - A three-county boat parade, campaigning for President Trump's re-election, will be held near Smith Lake Dam in Walker County on Saturday, Aug. 15, an organizer said Wednesday.
Bonnie Sachs of Double Springs, the state leader of I'm a Trump Girl and wife of Alabama Republican Party Chief of Staff Harold Sachs, confirmed the organization is sponsoring the event, which will be along the lines of a Trump boat parade in July on Smith Lake.
Other political boat parades have been reported around the nation as COVID-19 has made traditional campaign events hard to set up due to distancing. Last month's parade on Smith Lake had between 500 and 700 boats, and residents said on social media it took about 45 minutes for the parade to pass.
"Every weekend, either at Logan Martin or down on Lay Lake, on some lake, there is a big Trump rally," Sachs said.
Winston County boats will leave from Lakeshore Inn Marina at 8 a.m., she said. Cullman County boats will leave at 8:30 a.m. from Trident Marina. Information on Walker County's departure point has not been determined yet but will be released later. "We're doing it fairly early so I can get the boats off the lake for the weekend lakers," she said.
"We're just all going to converge (at about 10 a.m.) about a little ways from the dam," where there is a large lake area in Walker County, Sachs said. "I think it is going to be really large. We're going to have a couple of drones making pictures."
She didn't estimate how many boats may come, although she said organizers are getting much feedback. "It could be a hundred or a thousand," she said. "I won't know until that day." No preliminary sign up is needed, as organizers are only publicizing the launching points and the routes.
"A lot of them will join us from Walker at Duncan Bridge," Sachs said.
Different type boats will be accepted.
"We've told them they can ride their jet skis," she said. "I think there will be pontoons, all kinds of boats." Caution is being urged to pay attention to certain regulations on the lake.
"We're out there to have a lot of Trump flags flying in the wind, and letting Trump know what he does know - that Alabama supports him really, really - as he would say - huge," Sachs said.
In October, Sachs formed I'm a Trump Girl - Alabama, a state chapter of a national women's organization. Chapters are now across the state, she said.
"It's a private Facebook ladies only organization. Alabama has 11,500 'girls,'" she said.
I'm a Trump Girl had planned a big prayer rally in May that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. "Everything we've had has been cancelled, so we're hoping this is going to go through," she said.
The group is also hoping to do door-to-door voter registration and going on trips with a group called the Alabama Mighty Strike Force to key battleground states, such as Texas, as well as planning phone banks and sign deliveries. It has a private Facebook page.
She noted the original plan was to have a boat parade to Duncan Bridge and come back for a big rally with U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt and other speakers. However, not enough boats could dock at Lakeshore Inn, so the rally is being moved, with information coming later on that. The Trump Girls group is also sponsoring another rally next month that will still feature Tuberville, likely at Lakeshore Marina, with details to still be announced.
However, Sachs said there is still a possibility Tuberville and other bigger names might still join in on the Aug. 15 event. If that happens, organizers are still looking at a barge or some other impromptu staging that could be set up with a mic. "We should know that within the next week," she said.