LAKE WYLIE -- There might not be enough water to have Lake Wylie's 19th annual boat parade, but that's not keeping organizers from spreading Christmas cheer.
The Lights on the Lake Holiday Boat Parade planned for Dec. 8 will not be held this year because the low water levels create safety concerns and limited launch access with only Nivens Creek open, organizers say.
"It's just not safe," said Susan Bromfield, president of the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the parade. "At night, you can't see. With all the mud you see all around the shoreline, it's not safe even if they do have them docked. Safety comes first."
Instead, the chamber is planning a classic car show and Christmas parade on land, with time and location to be announced.
Although disappointed, Brad Thomas, last year's boat parade winner, said the news won't dampen his holiday spirits.
"I hate to hear it," said Thomas, who has lived on Lake Wylie for 18 years. "But I think we're going to decorate any way. It was so much fun."
Last winter, Thomas decked out his boat with candy canes, reindeer and dressed the children as elves. He said they circled the lake with the holiday ornaments until January.
Thomas might still try to get some boats together that already are on the lake to have their own parade.
Bromfield said she understands the disappointment.
"We know many folks put the boat parade date on their calendars and look forward to a fun, festive and family-oriented holiday event on the lake," she said. "We never take something and don't turn it into an opportunity."
Thanks to local car enthusiasts such as Jim Olson and Mike Grubb, who suggested the car show as an alternative, Lake Wylie won't be without.
"What we're looking for is anyone who would like to participate, anyone with a classic or collectible car," Grubb said.
There will be no entrance fee, Olson said.
Although the parade route has not be set, organizers say it likely will travel along S.C. 49 and N.C. 49 on both sides of the Buster Boyd Bridge.
Some boaters already have asked Bromfield if they can decorate their boats and bring them by trailer to the Buster Boyd Bridge Access Area to have them on display, she said.
"What spirit our lake community has," Bromfield said.
Additionally, T-Bones on the Lake also will hold a party the same night to benefit the Justin Mychals and Friends Child Cancer Benefit and the Lake Wylie Fireworks Fund.
Depending on how well the car show and parade go, Bromfield said it could set up another tradition to complement the boat parade.
"What we do not want to do is say the boat parade is canceled, gloom and doom, nothing fun to do and that's the end of it," she said. "What we're trying to do is come up with a festive, fun activity."
To participate in the car show, call (704) 678-7957 or (704) 361-6230.