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Harrison Township — Hundreds of private boats, including an 80-foot tug, paraded from northern Macomb County to Detroit Saturday in anticipation of President Donald Trump's 74th birthday on Sunday.

About 200 boats pushed off from MacRay Harbor at 1 p.m. and headed south to the Nautical Mile, picking up boats along the way. Decorated boats as big as 60 feet joined from Grosse Pointe Yacht Club and were scheduled to pass Jefferson Beach Marina area at 2:30 p.m. and then proceed to the Ambassador Bridge on the Detroit River.

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Sailing were members of the Michigan Trump Republicans, Michigan Conservative Coalition and residents who wanted to celebrate the president's birthday Sunday, which is also Flag Day.

It's the first event of its kind in Michigan, said Matt Seely, MCC spokesman.

Seely, Sherman Rogers, Rachel Keena created the Facebook event page and eight days later, nearly 5,000 people responded to going. The event grew attracting the Trump Unity Bridge, which led a land motorcade on Jefferson in tandem with the parade on water.

"We just posted and the thing exploded. Now we have three seaplanes and helicopter following," Seely said. "It’s kind of an American tradition and ... for a brief moment, it's to take all the difficulties we’ve been through the last three months away, and a sweet moment of celebration."

Rosanne Ponkowski, president of Michigan's Trump Republicans, said there were no second thoughts of holding the event during the pandemic because sailors are outside.

"There have been several flotillas supporting the President in Florida and this is an offshoot of those," Ponkowski said. "Sunday is the President's birthday and we felt it was a great way to wish him Happy Birthday and a terrific way for Michiganders to celebrate the end of the lockdown we have been suffering through."

Another birthday party celebration for Trump is planned for Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on North Main Street in Frankenmuth.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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