Chicago celebrates Venetian Night

July 26, 2008 (CHICAGO)

They saw quite a show for Venetian night with more than 30 boats decked out from bow to stern. One was poking fun as mayor Daley's infatuation with flowers. There were many creative entries. All of them showing Chicago's summer scene.

Boat owners are given one directive. Decorate in a way that reflects summer in the city. To some that means gardens and greenery. Others inspired by the prospect of the summer Olympics in 2016, others, road construction.

"It was a gorgeous night, and I loved the boats. I thought they were creative," said Ruby LeMon as she enjoyed the boat parade.

The city estimates 675,000 people sprawled out from the Shedd Aquarium to the yacht club.

With this being the first extra large gathering since a fatal shooting near the Taste of Chicago on July 3, police were out in force patrolling from the ground, air and water. "We have a couple of news things in place which I am not going to discuss. But we don't anticipate any problems because we have more than enough resources in place," said Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis.

Over the last 15 years the activities have expanded to include airplane fly-overs. The number of boats in this year's parade is down to 35. Many owners began mapping out the night months ago.

The night was capped off with fireworks. They lit up the night sky over the lake. It was the perfect nightcap for a picture-perfect evening.

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