Meeker County's abundance of lakes offered the perfect venue for celebrating Independence Day Saturday.

Watercraft gathered at several lakes for boat parades organized by lake associations at Washington, Stella, Minnie Belle, Francis, Belle and Jennie, among others.

On Lake Washington, red-white-and-blue festooned crafts — mostly boats and pontoons — met Saturday at Dassel Rod and Gun Club boat landing in Sportsmen's Park to begin their parade. Dozens of boats, most occupied by several people, then circled the lake in their finest July 4 spirit.

This year was the first Fourth of July Parade on Lake Washington since 1998, according to association member Sue Schwinghammer.

"There were no prizes, we just wanted this to be fun," Schwinghammer said of the parade. "I guess others thought so, too, since there were 27 boats in the parade."

Along with decorating in Independence Day colors, including flags, bunting and signs, at least one of the boats featured live music, the singing of "Proud to be an American," with the singer's own guitar accompaniment.

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