Jim Abbott on Florida Travel
Postcards from Florida
November 1, 2011
Let's face it, Floridians, we don't do the holidays in the Sunshine State the way they do up North.
In previous Postcards installments, I've written about my family's tradition of heading out to the beach on Christmas Day for a game of touch football in the sand — not something that's an option, say, in Idaho.
Here's another holiday tradition that's unique: The holiday boat parade.
Hey, anyone can decorate a house. When you're putting lights on a houseboat, it's something different.
There are an assortment of floating festivities, including:
•47th Annual St. Johns River Christmas Boat Parade: This year's flotilla is slated to cast off at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10 at Catfish Bend (Marker 36) north of Whitehair Bridge on the St. Johns River in DeLand. It travels south, finishing at roughly 8 p.m. at the north end of Lake Beresford.
There are a few recommended spots to watch from shore, including Ed Stone Park, at State Road 44 in DeLand and the Lake Beresford Yacht Club. For entry information and other details, call 386-801-5685.
12th Annual Halifax River Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade: It begins at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 north of the Seabreeze Bridge on the Halifax River. From there, the boats travel south to the basin in front of the Halifax River Yacht Club, then turn into the north basin at the Daytona Beach City Marina for judging.
Viewing is available anywhere along the river or on downtown bridges at Seabreeze and Main streets or International Speedway Boulevard. For details, call 386-255-7459.
•Marathon's Boot Key Harbor Lighted Christmas Boat Parade: Watercraft ranging from dinghies to yachts will cruise the harbor in a sparkling procession starting at dusk on Dec. 10. Best viewing sites include Lazy Days South, Marathon Marina, Sombrero Dockside Lounge and Burdine's Waterfront. (305-743-9629; bootkeyharbor.com/christmas_parade).
•Key Largo Boat Parade: This year's theme for the parade on Blackwater Sound is "Key Largo Imagination." It starts at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10. (305-451-4502; keylargoboatparade.com)
•Winterfet Boat Parade: The 40th 'Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade' starting on the New River in Fort Lauderdale and traveling to the Intracoastal north to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. The parade will stage on the New River along the docks west of Stranahan House to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The Parade travels East to the Intracoastal Waterway as it continues North to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. This year's theme is "Rockin Boats & Holiday Floats." Private boats to the giant showboats and corporate megayachts will be adorned with hundreds of thousands of lights, music, entertainment, decorations, celebrities, musical groups, beauty queens and many other exciting entries expected to be viewed by over one million spectators. This year's parade will be held on Dec. 10. Tickets to view the parade at the Grandstand Viewing Area are $17 for children and $22 for adults. For more information call Winterfest, Inc. at 954-767-0686 or visit winterfestparade.com.
For a complete list of other boat parades around Florida, go to floridabywater.com/component/content/article/1647-boat-parades.