Chesapeake Country loves showing off its boats, and decorating them for the holidays is a good excuse to get back on the water — even on a chilly night. The boating season is winding down, but now’s the time to think about the holidays and celebrating at one of Annapolis’ most colorful events, the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade.
Get your boat in on the action by signing up before December 10 for the December 14 parade, held 6 to 8pm, rain or shine.
The parade typically draws up to 30,000 spectators, who line the Annapolis waterfront to watch more than 40 sail and power boats navigate two loops; one below the bridge, circling in front of Eastport, the Naval Academy seawall and City Dock; the other circling the length of Spa Creek, above the bridge.
Some boats are elaborate and expensively tinseled; others are more modest and whimsical. Past parades have brought us boats decorated with Snoopy and Charlie Brown, Jerry Garcia, the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph, the infamous Leg Lamp, mermaids and Santas. What will your winning theme be?
Organizers say fancy decorations are great, but simple ideas also work well. Paraders are treated to brunch and an awards party after the parade. Skippers who shop at the K & B True Value Hardware Store on Forest Drive also save 10 percent off all Lights Parade decorating costs.
Skippers meet beforehand for a required safety briefing and last-minute assistance with decorating tips and ideas. You do not need to be a member of Eastport Yacht Club to join the Lights Parade.
New competitions have been added to this year’s parade, and the club competition returns. Popular boats vie to win The Peoples Choice Award, which is based upon voting on the Lights Parade Facebook page. Many other prizes are offered by category and size of vessels.
Register at www.eastportyc.org/lights-parade.