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Viking ships, sea monsters, mermaids, pirates and dragons have all been sighted on the Codorus Creek in York over the last 14 years.

Don't believe me?

Ask Karen Noll.

"We even had an ice cream sundae one time," Noll said.

Three people in a canoe each dressed up as a different flavor — vanilla, chocolate and strawberry — with cherries on top.

They were paddling in the Historic Codorus Creek Boat Parade, part of the Yorkfest Fine Arts Festival since 2002.

That's when, as part of the Codorus Creek Improvement Partnership, Michael Helfrich helped revive the tradition from the early 1900's when he says people would line the banks of the Codorus as boats from different clubs paraded down the creek.

The revival of the boat parade was an effort to get more people to pay attention to the creek.

"And the amazing thing is that after 15 years it's actually happening," Helfrich said, citing the boom of the WeCo district, the monthly Creekfire and improvements to the York Country Heritage Rail Trail as signs that people are focusing on the creek.

The parade, which takes place Aug. 27, is kind of like a victory lap for Noll who volunteers with the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association by planting trees and cleaning up the Codorus.

"It's a really fun way to celebrate the creek and remind people that it's a waterway that people can use," Noll said.

Boaters see the city from a different perspective.

"You see the wetlands at Penn Street, fish swimming under your boat," Helfrich said. "In such an urban environment, it really gives you a connection to nature."

Join in

Grab your boat, some decorations and join the parade.

Participants meet Aug. 27 starting at 1 p.m. at Bantz Park, 800 W. College Ave in York, to decorate their boats before launching at 2 p.m. Depending on the creek, it should take 30 to 45 minutes to reach the end of the parade at Foundry Plaza at West Philadelphia Street.

Boats may be decorated however the participant wants, including to promote a business or political campaign. Paddlers are also invited to dress in costume.

The event is open to anyone but people are encouraged to pre-register by calling Michael Helfrich at 717-779-7915 or Karen Noll at 717-575-5161. For more information, check out the Historic Codorus Creek Boat Parade event on Facebook.

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