'Let's Go Brandon' Boat Wins Christmas Lights Contest But Gets Disqualified

A boat that was awarded first place in an annual light parade show in Virginia had the prize taken away because of its "Let's Go Brandon" themed decorations.

The organizers of the Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade apologized after giving "Best in Show" to Captain Bill Berger's boat, which had "Let's Go Brandon" and "FJB" decorative lights adorning it.

In a statement, the Yorktown Foundation, which oversees the parade, said the boat was disqualified for having an "overt political statement" as part of its entry, which was not "in keeping with the intended spirit of the holiday season."

The foundation added that it must remain apolitical as it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

"First, we apologize to our Boat Parade participants for not providing clear guidance on the family-friendly holiday theme and the requirement for an apolitical message," the statement said.

"To all the spectators in Yorktown on Saturday night, we apologize about the disruption to the holiday festivities, and we especially apologize to our family and friends in attendance that may have had to explain to their children the political nature of the message."

The "Let's Go Brandon" phrase has become a Republican catchphrase and used as a direct replacement for the "f**k Joe Biden" chants that had been breaking out at major public events for several weeks.

Speaking to 6 News Richmond, Berger said: "When we left, we were declared the winner. 48 hours later it was stripped from us and I think it's from pressure."

Berger said he intended his boat, which also mocked when the president fell up stairs while walking onto Air Force One in March, to be as anti-Biden as possible.

"I think our message got across," Berger said.

When asked what that message was, Berger replied: "We have a horrible president. Is it inappropriate? In today's world, I don't think so."

Making a Political Statement

Dr. Walt Akers, a member of the Board of Directors for The Yorktown Foundation, said the boat may have been handed first place because it got such a positive reaction from the crowd and the judges weren't aware of the political statement it was making.

"It was very well lit, it was a beautiful boat," Akers said. "The guy did a great display. If it wasn't just for this political issue, I think the guy would have had a very good chance.

"The crowd was very responsive to it, and I think it's possible the judges may have responded to the crowd activity."

The Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade Committee said it will be making a number of changes to ensure such an incident doesn't happen next year. These include requiring a description of the proposed decorations on the entry form, adding clear guidance on appropriate entries, and changing the double-blind scoring process to include checks and balances.

"The members of the Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade Committee wish to reiterate that our mission continues to be unifying our community through a family-friendly, festive, holiday boat parade," they added.

The Yorktown Foundation has been contacted for further comment.

lets go brandon boat
Holiday themed boats parade past a container ship at the Port of Los Angeles during the ‘Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade’ on December 4, 2021, in San Pedro, California. A boat with a "Let's go Brandon" theme had its lighted boat parade first place award stripped in Virginia due to its political message. Mario Tama/Getty Images