JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The St. Johns River Ferry will be featured in the city of Jacksonville's annual Light Parade on Saturday. The ferry will lead off the parade and then serve as the turn-around point for the other vessels in the parade.

"We want people to know that the ferry is open for business," said City Councilman and Ferry Commission Chair John Crescimbeni said. "But while the task force created by Councilman (Bill) Gulliford has done a great job keeping the Ferry running in the short term, it's long-term future is far from certain."

Gulliford said that increasing ridership is key to securing that future.

"If it's been a while since you've ridden the ferry, we hope you'll make it a point to use this unique river crossing in the near future," he said.

To facilitate the ferry's presence in the parade, the service will close at 2 p.m. Saturday and reopen at its regular time Sunday morning.

"It's important to note that there is no public money being spent for the ferry to participate in this event, thanks to the efforts of the task force," Crescimbeni said.

Support for the event is being provided by Gate Petroleum, BAE Systems, Dixie Towing, and Sign-A-Rama.