Struggling to stay afloat on the wave of a weak economy, organizers of the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade have joined forces with a nonprofit public arts organization to raise funds to keep the popular annual event going this year.

A fundraising cruise is slated to take place Thursday, Oct. 7 aboard the Hornblower vessel Dream On to generate revenue for the boat parade that has been cut back due to the still dismal state of the economy. Portraits of Hope will be partnering with the boat parade’s organizers for the fundraiser.

“This is a real challenge,” said Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade President Cindy Williams. “Over the past two years, we have really struggled to raise the funds needed to put on this great community event.

“We want to continue this area tradition because we feel that it is really important not only to the tourism and hospitality industries in Marina del Rey but also to our local residents and their families.”

Last year, the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors reduced funding allocated for the fireworks show in past parades.

“We feel that the fireworks are a wonderful tradition,” said Boat Parade board member Bob Singer. “In 2009, the parade raised money to cover the cost for the fireworks and it’s not cheap. We are looking for ways to fund the fireworks again, so we can continue this fabulous show for the 2010 Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade.”

Boarding for the cruise will begin at 6 p.m. and the boat is scheduled to depart at 6:30 p.m. from Fisherman’s Village, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey. Cruise tickets are available for $50 per person and must be purchased in advance. Reservations are required, as space is limited. A cash bar will be onboard for guests to purchase drinks and light hors d’oeuvres and a pasta buffet will be served.

In addition, a limited amount of Portraits of Hope lifeguard tower panels will be auctioned off during the cruise. Photos taken of the multi-colored lifeguard towers will also be available for purchase.

Nancy and The Night Crawlers, a rock-and-blues band based in Los Angeles, is donating their services for the fundraiser.

Information, Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade (310) 670-7130 or www.mdrboatparade.org/.

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