BUTLER — With a particularly nasty-looking set of clouds looming in the distance, Sandra Grindstaff rested on the ledge of the Butler Bridge Monday afternoon dressed in a red, white and blue shirt as boats passed 80 feet below.
The Butler native lives about two minutes away from the bridge, which is usually the best location to watch the annual Fourth of July Boat Parade on Watauga Lake.
But things were a little different Monday when a massive thunderstorm swept through the area.
“I thought it would be prettier than this. Sunny,” Grindstaff said as the dark clouds and bolts of lightning inched closer and closer. “We just live up the road, so we do this about every year.”
While Grindstaff explained her family’s fascination with the annual boat parade, the sky opened up.
“We like to see the boats all decorated in their red, white and blue colors and it’s raining,” she said as she tried to get under an umbrella.
After quickly making her way back to the car and out of the rain with her family, Grindstaff said the parade offers a little something for everybody — as long as the rain doesn’t scare everyone off.
“It’s been going for 10 or 11 years and we just have a lot of fun really with seeing all the colors and the men like the women in their bikinis,” she said with a laugh.
Since Grindstaff doesn’t live far from the bridge, the parade has always been a part of her family’s Fourth of July celebration, which also happens to be same date as her son’s birthday.
“We celebrate a lot cause it’s my son’s birthday, and we celebrate his birthday along with cookouts and stuff,” she said.
Only this year, the celebration came packaged with a torrential downpour.