Christmas Boat Parades Celebrate the Magic of the Season
It was not a silent night nor was a single star in sight, but the sky was bright - full of lights and blaring music and revelry as sailors celebrated Christmas on the water in New Orleans, La. on Saturday, December 15.
Yachting Journal enjoyed reporting live from the 26th annual West End Christmas Boat Parade. Featuring over 36 boats and yachts in complete holiday splendor, the maritime holiday began with vessels lined up at the historic New Canal Lighthouse, proceeding on Lake Pontchartrain in a loop, returning to cruise up the New Basin Canal into the Municipal Harbor and Southern Yacht Club, the nation’s second oldest yacht club.
Elves were swinging from masts. Santa rode in on a Benetau and was miraculously spotted paddle boarding minutes later. It was a busy night for jolly, ole St. Nick who was an omnipresent, able-bodied sailor magically pulling duty on multiple vessels.
Perhaps the most impressive holiday boat was M/V Southern Star, which had krewe participating on deck as hybrid, colorful angel swamp bugs with moving wings.
“There’s lots of lights and it’s definitely good for business” said Kevin Hug, a server at Felix’s. “We’re packed.”
The West End of New Orleans on Lake Pontchartrain is lined with seafood restaurants and waterfront bars which were standing room only, serving thousands of charbroiled oysters by the dozen with boiled shrimp, gumbo and fried, soft-shell crab for all those who enjoyed the parade on land.
In the yachting capital of the world, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., there was a much bigger boat parade. The 47th Annual Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade cruised a 12-mile route, down the New River into the IntraCoastal Waterway past Hall of Fame Marina. With an 80’s theme, the grand marshal was musician Huey Lewis.
“It rained all day but not during the parade,” said Scott Salomon, dockmaster, Hall of Fame Marina. “It was nice.”
Kudos to all mariners who celebrated Christmas on the water, bringing the yachting lifestyle to everyone on shore. You were all very, very good this year and are on Santa's "good list" at West Marine.