Christmas Boat Parade Changes Name, Loses Fans

A sponsor drops out of the parade after the word "Christmas" is removed

An annual parade of boats on a Long Island river has lost the word "Christmas" from its name and apparently has lost lots of supporters because of the decision.

About 1,000 people showed up Sunday for the Patchogue Boat Parade of Lights. That's 500 fewer than usually attended when it was called the Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade.

Brookhaven-based fireworks company Fireworks by Grucci dropped its sponsorship after the Greater Patchogue Foundation removed "Christmas" from the parade's name because some residents complained the name wasn't inclusive enough.

Grucci vice president Philip Butler opposes the secularization of Christmas. His supporters encouraged area residents to stay away from the parade on Patchogue River.

Organizers say the parade still was a success.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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