In the mood for something different this holiday season? Annapolis’ Christmas Boat Parade features dozens of brightly lit boats that are quite impressive.If you want to celebrate Christmas in style, then you'll want to checkout the Eastport Yacht Club’s Parade of Lights in Annapolis on December 9. This holiday tradition features a boat light parade presented by local boat owners who have decorated their vessels with Christmas light decorations. It's an annual tradition in the town’s Harbor, and has become one of the more popular Christmas time events, with 20 to 30 thousand people lining up on the waterfront to watch as 40 boats of all shapes, sizes, sail and power appear from in the darkness. The annual Christmas Boat Parade happens in two fleets: the first fleet circles in front of the Eastport waterfront, swinging by the Naval Academy’s seawall, while the second fleet sails by the Spa Creek waterfront inside the bridge. The boat parade begins at 6 p.m. and concludes at 8 p.m., and is rain or shine -- apart from high winds that could cause a cancellation. [gallery size="large" ids="6338,6336,6341"] Boat owners participating in the light parade are known to be quite the pack of jolly carousers. The participants compete for prizes and recognition both individually and as representatives of their respective boat clubs. Anyone who owns a boat is warmly welcomed by the Eastport Yacht Club to participate, and are provided with decorating and safety advice/guidelines.
The event occurs yearly thanks to the help and efforts of volunteers, and, in last year’s USA Today poll of Best Holiday Parades in the country, the Annapolis/Eastport Yacht Club Holiday Boat Parade gained the number one ranking. This comes as no surprise as locals and visitors can get a good view of the parade from five different locations: the Eastport Bridge, Annapolis City Dock, Naval Academy, Fawcett Boat Supplies Boat Parking Lot and the Annapolis City Marina’s Eastport Walkway, all of which provide close up views of the parade and lights. The boat parade can also be viewed aboard dinner yacht cruises such as the Catherine Marie and other boats such as the Harbor Queen, which will be conducting a food drive during the parade event. Other locations include First, Second, Third and Fourth Streets, Truxton Park, Market, Acton Cove Burnside Street, Monticello Avenue, Lafayette Park, Shipwright and Revel Streets, Taney and Cheston Avenues and Southgate. [caption id="attachment_6342" align="aligncenter" width="500"] courtesy of downtown annapolis[/caption] Parking for the event will be available at Park Place located at 100 Westgate Circle. Road signs directing motorists to the garage will be up on Taylor Avenue and Rowe Boulevard during the event, and there will be a free shuttle from the parking garage to downtown and back until 2:30 a.m. Other garages will be open as well, including the South Street Lot on South Street at Church Circle, Gott’s Court garage on 25 Northwest Street, Knighton Garage on Colonial Avenue and the Hillman Parking Garage on 150 Gorman Street. Other than parking the event will be free to attend for all. For more info, visit the Eastport Yacht Club’s event webpage. Have you gone to the Boat Parade in the past? Will you be attending again this year? Let us know in the comments below. And we'll see you there!