By Lora Somoza
Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down… Channel Islands Harbor?
That’s right! It’s that very magical time of the year where families from all over the 805 come out to celebrate The Annual Parade of Lights, complete with dozens of festive, decorative boats, carolers, and that special visit from St Nick.
This time honored event has been going strong since its inception in 1965. Boaters go out of their way to dazzle fans with more and more creative entries each year with the annual themes. From “Holiday in Toyland” to “Thanks for the Memories,” these boaters have thrilled the community with their festive floating masterpieces. And this year promises to be the best year yet, with the Parade of Lights celebrating its 50th anniversary. The theme is “Celebrating the 60’s” in honor of the the parade and in celebration of the Harbor’s accomplishments in the past 50 years.
Sure, there are several boat parades up and down the coast. What make this one special? “Channel Islands Harbor has a large waterfront community living in the Harbor, giving it a more home town feel,” says Lynda Radke, Commodore of Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club, “and this is a community based event. It brings people together in a festive way.”
“I love parades, and the parade at Hollywood Beach is a terrific one,” says Ann Richardson. “It’s small enough to be friendly–not like parades on land where you have to wait all day for a float to come around a corner. On the water, with the boats all lit up, you can be in the center of things. This parade is one everybody enjoys–those who are in it, and those who relax on their docks or their boats and just watch. ”
As for the best way to enjoy the parade, you have several great options, as the parade can be viewed throughout the harbor. Waterfront viewing is available from some restaurants & boat charters. Many harbor businesses have views overlooking the parade route, including: The Lookout Bar & Grill, Moqueca Brazilian Cuisine, Sea Fresh, Toppers Pizza Place, The Waterside Restaurant and Wine Bar, and Whale’s Tail . Families can also bring chairs, blankets and their own picnic meal and view the beautiful boats from public spaces throughout the Harbor.
So mark your calendar for December 12th. Come kick off the holidays with Snow Play at 10:00 a.m. and meet Santa and Mrs. Claus from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Join in on arts & crafts and enjoy the tasty treats from our favorite food vendors starting at 4:00 p.m.
And at 7:00 p.m. you can enjoy the thousands of sparkling lights dancing on the water and the magical moment when Santa flies across the sky marking the beginning of the parade.
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