Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

A beautiful night, lots of Toys and Money for Our Little Smiles NC Kids!

The annual Lake Norman Lighted Christmas Boat Parade founded by Captain Colin Furcht has grown into a wonderful tradition over the last five years. Supported by its partners; Duke Energy and Mecklenburg Parks & Recreation; the 25 beautifully decorated boats glided across Lake Norman on the eve of Dec. 16th playing festive Christmas music for all. The parade launched from Blythe Landing, and continued to Ramsey Creek, adding a new stop at the Peninsula Yacht Club cove, and ended at the Energy Explorium where there was.
fun family-friendly activities for all.

“The demand for the parade has increased so much,” Furcht commented. “We had thousands of people come from near and far to enjoy the festive boat lights and we’re hoping it grows every year! It’s great for the local economy, and brings joy to our community. “

“We encourage participation each year, it’s fun and very safe,” Furcht explained. The lake & fire patrol, as well as the local police departments worked with us to ensure a safe route for boats of all sizes. Our parade cruised along lake waters at a depth of 30+ feet. In addition, we had Tow U.S. and Sea Tow to ensure the parade’s smooth execution. Interested boaters for 2024 need to email Furcht for more information at Registration is requested by all boat captains to keep everyone safe and accounted for.

The Best Ever Year so far-Beautiful start to Christmas!

Besides the amazing boat displays, the night was also about the toy drive.

Little Smiles Volunteer, Founder Margi Kyle, Ambassador Heather Mueller,
and President Tim Boone collecting Toys at the Lake Norman Lighted
Christmas Boat Parade.

Furcht has worked with Margi Kyle, founder of the Little Smiles NC Chapter since the start of the boat parade five years ago.

“Margi and I hit it off the first year and we never looked back since,” Furcht explained. “She and her team do
an amazing job and the fact that it helps kids in our community makes it even more special to have them as partners in our parade.”

Margi Kyle founded the NC Chapter of Little Smiles 14 years ago to help make a big impact with area children. “This is a cause very dear to me,” Kyle commented. There are so many kids who need our support, and we believe every child deserves the opportunity to smile, especially around Christmas time.” At any time, Little Smiles works with 10-13 area medical facilities and in home care centers. They meet with hospital Board of Director’s to plan facility events for the children and support both the nurses and child life specialists in
determining the best ways to distribute the toys.

The final stop of the boat parade at Duke’s Energy Explorium, was magical with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and one of his elves greeting children as they shared their visions of what Christmas under the tree might look like this year. Photo keepsakes with Santa were available for free to all who participated.

Featured are Mr. & Mrs.: Santa John & Sherry Claus, along with Elf Nicole and
children left to right: Ethan (6yr.) Maxine (3.5yr) & Emma (3yr.)
You can find out more about “Classic” and how he and his elves
have brought the magic to local area children for years & years.
There were also tasty DonutNV and Chips n Dips food truck selections for purchase.

Colin Furcht reminds us how small ideas can turn into large events that make
a big impact in the community.

“I’ve loved working as a town commissioner in Cornelius and continue to work to build a strong community for us to thrive in and enjoy.” “It all started when my friends and I got together, decorated our boats, and cruised around LKN to celebrate Christmas,” Furcht shared. It was so fun and we wanted others to experience it. Therefore, I surrounded myselfwith smart people, and before we knew it, we were making a big impact on
our community and I just can’t wait till next year!”

What is Little Smiles?

“Little Smiles” is a non-profit 501 © (3) organization. We are LOCAL-We are IMMEDIATE-We are HANDS-ON with and through the local nurses, social workers in the NC area- to determine the immediate needs for each child.

For more information about Little Smiles go to, History – Little Smiles of North Carolina ( There are many ways to support nurses and social workers throughout the year. Headshot of Margi Kyle, founder of Little Smiles NC.

Heather Mueller

Heather and her husband Gene live at Lake Norman. She is a mother to two adult children, Michaela & Kyle and super mom to an adorable Cavachon pup. Her career spans over 25 years. Starting fresh as a fast track
advertising exec for Fortune 500 companies in NYC, transitioning to a marketing manager for the travel & Leisure marketing segment of a major airline, and later designing programs for senior marketing executives at one of the top international conference & event companies.

One of her favorite passions is volunteering for great causes and making things happen in her community. Currently she enjoys freelance writing, traveling, photography, and spending time boating on Lake Norman with family & friends. You might also catch Heather on a fantastic hike chasing sunsets or playing pickelball. But most of all Heather loves meeting people and discovering how they live their best life, so she can continue to live hers.

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