The North Carolina Holiday Flotilla began 25 years ago in an attempt to bring people to the beach in the winter time. According to the original flotilla president Martha Lee, it's been a success. “It pleases everyone from 1 to 100 and you can’t do any better than that. And it's bringing a lot of money into the beautification of Wrightsville Beach." Flotilla organizers say around 35,000 people gathered in Wrightsville Beach to watch the 16 elaborately decorated boats parade through Banks Channel. Because of the rain, organizers say about six boats dropped out and 10,000 fewer people watched. But that didn't seem to take away from the fun. Flotilla onlooker Toni Ivey said, “We've done it a time or two we just enjoy the social people and being around everybody and getting into the holiday season." Seven judges score the boats based on creativity and crew spirit, and the winners receive everything from cash prizes to a free vacations. Winners will be announced Sunday afternoon.
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