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Bright by Land and by Sea

Luminaries and a parade boats light up Solomons Christmas Walk

When Solomons Islanders see Boy Scouts by the dozens running up and down the street, they know the Christmas season has begun.
    “We use local Scout troops to distribute and light the luminaries for our Christmas Walk,” explains Vandy Young, chair of Solomons Christmas Walk. It’s an ingenious use of resources, pairing the distribution of 3,500 candles over a mile with the energy of boys. One group running south and the other north, the Scouts, place candles in small buckets every two or three feet in front of homes and businesses, enveloping the island in a luminescent spirit of Christmas. The luminaries sparkle all along the boardwalk, too.
    About an inch of water surrounds the candles in each bucket, so two supply trucks with hoses and huge casks of water roll alongside the Scouts’ candle route.
       Also shining bright that festive weekend is the parade of lighted boats, whose captains dare pay little attention to the thousands of luminaries on land. They’re concentrated on keeping their boats’ speed consistent and evenly spaced, says Jeff Carlsen, this year’s coordinator. The lead boat is neither a sleek sailboat nor a powerful powerboat, but a towboat, its lights leading the precession around the harbor and up the Patuxent River.
       The Scouts also help on the water.
       “I have Sea Scouts aboard,” says Carlsen, who captains Seahawk.
    “The parade’s lots of fun and a group effort. Some people go all out and have large frames of lights, like a dragon with flapping wings. And there are frames with lots of actions, like spinning wheels.”
    After the parade it’s off to the yacht club for awards, including Best in Show and Best Spirit. The latter, says Carlsen, “is for the most enthusiastic crew, with the most yelling and screaming, really into the spirit of it all."