It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Holiday celebrations afloat are happening from sea-to-shining-sea.

December 10, 2010

Holiday Boat Parades

Michael James

A fun part of the holiday season is seeing a harbor come alive with the lights, music and festive spirit of a holiday boat parade. Held all across the country, from frigid Newport, Rhode Island, to Ft. Lauderdale’s parade on the New River, Holiday Boat Parades are a great way for boaters to shake off the winter chill and come together for an event everyone can enjoy. Here are some of the upcoming boat parades — if you’re in the neighborhood, string on some lights, grab the inflatable Santa and reindeer for the bow, and start the engines.

•Marina Del Ray will host their 47th Annual Holiday Boat Parade Saturday, December 11. Fireworks go off at 5:55 and the parade gets underway at 6:00. Visit for all of the details.

•The Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade will take over the waterway of Ft. Lauderdale Saturday, December 11, starting on the New River and winding its way past Las Olas and downtown Ft. Lauderdale like a floating, glowing, snake (I’ve been to this one — it’s a trip). Line up along the banks for great boats, music and festivities, or decorate your vessel and join in. Visit for all of the details and how to participate.


•The Christmas Boat Parade in Newport Beach will be celebrating their 102nd anniversary this year (yes, one hundred and second) from December 15 through 19. The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce has given this year’s parade the “Lights, Camera…Christmas in Newport Beach” theme, celebrating the holidays and the city’s movie and film history. Everything from kayaks to megayachts will fill the harbor with five nights of lights, music and holiday festivities. For more on the event, visit

•Christmas goes to the Keys with the Key Largo Boat Parade, which kicks off Saturday, December 11 at 7:30. The parade will take place in Blackwater Sound (mile marker 104) and one lucky participant will win a $500 prize — that can promptly be spent on libations and good cheer at the Winners’ Party at Sundowners bar (beginning at 10:00). For more information, go to

•Starting December 9 and running nightly through December 21 will be the Christmas Ship Parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in Portland, Oregon. The Christmas Ship Fleet averages around 55 to 60 boats all together (with the vessels from both rivers). The boats will have viewings at restaurants and hotels along their way down the rivers. For more information visit


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