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.
Boat parade Lake Havasu
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.
Boat parade in Sausalito
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.
Boat parade Marina del Rey
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'
Boat parade in Annapolis
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.
Boat parade in Florida
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.
But guess what! It's not only Americans who have boat parades - Mooloolaba’s Christmas Boat Parade is fun for everyone!
If you are anywhere within reach of Mooloolaba, it's good to know that they are raising money for Sailability with the boat parade there. So bring your family, bring your friends. Pack a picnic. Get yourselves ready for a magical, floating light spectacular! Imagine – loads of colour, pretty Xmas lights, entertainment and more.
If you have a boat, small or big, and want to be in the night-time parade? Enter to win the Best Dressed Boat prize!
Do you live on the Mooloolah canals* and want to show off your house? Enter to win the Best Dressed House prize
All entry fees will be donated to Sailability Sunshine Coast (a non-profit volunteer run organisation giving sailing experiences for disabled children and adults).
Don’t have a boat or live on the waterways of the Mooloolah River? Don’t worry - you can still join in! We have a fun-filled afternoon of activities around The Wharf Mooloolaba, so come and celebrate Christmas with us!
WHEN: Saturday 15th December 2012!
Read more at www.christmasboatparade.net