Boat parade changes name, loses fans

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (AP) - November 24, 2008

About 1,000 people showed up Sunday for the Patchogue Boat Parade of Lights. That's 500 fewer than usually showed up 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. The change was made after 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.

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