By Karen Gutierrez
The Cincinnati Enquirer
DAYTON, Ky. - Watertown Yacht Club is usually so quiet that Tammie Hornsby calls it "sleepy time harbor."
But not this weekend.
Guys have been partying on the dock. Boaters have strung lights and hoisted 8-foot Frankensteins. Music has blared. Coolers have been opened and closed, opened and closed.
Quiet is not the word for it.
"I kind of hated to go home (on Friday night); the fun was just starting," says Hornsby with a laugh. "Some guy down the way was screaming and yelling and carrying on. We don't know what he was drinking, but he was having a good time."
Hornsby and her husband, Luther, live in Mount Washington and keep their boat at Watertown year-round. For Tall Stacks this weekend, 200-some regular boats were joined by about 50 transients.
Some boaters went all-out to celebrate the spirit of the weekend, sticking fake paddle wheels and stacks on their pleasure craft. A few participated in a Saturday-night parade down the Ohio, but others decorated just for the fun of it.
Steve Snodrass spent three days making a paddle wheel out of leftover decking material, painting it red and fastening it onto his boat. He and his wife, Linda, renamed their craft from The Fun House to The Belle of Addyston for the occasion.
Why go to so much trouble?
"We don't get many boating events in Cincinnati," said Snodgrass, who normally keeps his 38-footer at Hidden Cove Marina in Addyston.
"When you've got a boat, you look for reasons to use it and reasons to make it outrageous," Snodgrass said.
A few docks away, a vessel named Bene Vita underwent a similar transformation on Saturday.
Griff and Carol Geiss of Landen and their friend Tom Schaefer of Oakley spent the day preparing the Geiss' boat for the 8 p.m. parade.
To make the Bene Vita resemble a steamer, Geiss put two stacks on top that he fashioned out of cardboard concrete forms. The couple attended to every detail, even discussing whether the stacks should be painted in flat or glossy black paint. (They went with flat.)
For a special touch, they made doors at the bottom of the stacks and placed coffee cans inside. During the parade, they planned to let off 5-minute smoke bombs inside the cans to simulate steam.
"It's to join in the festiveness of the event," Geiss said. "We do a lot of boating from March to November, and this is something different to do."
And yes, he said, there was a fire extinguisher on board.
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