It's Boat Parade time across America. From Arizona to Florida, from Newport Beach to Chattanooga, the lighted boat parade is a big part of Christmas.
Prizes are given, excitement runs high and those without boats line the shores to celebrate and discuss the boats - from awe-inspiring to sweet, from ridiculous to hilarious. It's all part of the fun.
However, in Los Angeles, Marina del Rey's boat parade will this year be special, as it is their 50th. Most people are warmly attired as they sail their glowing, highly decorated vessels for applause and kudos. Everything from runabouts to tall ships, yachts and powerboats forget their differences and join in the celebrations. Marina del Rey's is happening tonight, on the 8th December.
It doesn't have to involve a port or the ocean. Also tonight not far away, the artificially created Lake Perris is holding its 14th Lights on the Lake Holiday Boat Parade. They're raising money for the local children's hospital.
Many have already been held. Some are not raising money, but showing off their electrical skills. In Chattanooga last night, decorated boats paraded on the Tennessee River and here it was a show put on by the 'International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers'
Over in Florida they are boat-parade-crazy. There are nearly as many boat parades as waterways - Apollo Beach, Astor, Boca Raton, Bonita Springs, Cape Canaveral, Carrabelle, Cape Coral, Cedar Key, Cocoa Beach, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers Beach, Jacksonville, Key Largo, Key West, Florida Keys, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St Petersburg, Tampa - and that's not an exhaustive list.
But there is something different about Newport Christmas Boat Parade this year. There is a movement to boycott it, by members of 'Stop the Dock Tax' movement.
The event, put on by the Newport Chamber of Commerce and hosted by their Commodores Club, has found itself in the middle of a nasty battle between residential dock owners and the city.
Folks around the water are threatening to turn off their lights, and pull their boats from the parade, in protest over increased dock fees proposed by the city of Newport.
It seems you can't keep politics even out of Christmas...
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