Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

By Robert Bernstein

The Holiday Boat Parade of Lights was a big hit Sunday night down at Stearn’s Wharf! Boats festooned with colorful lights and displays gathered in the Santa Barbara Harbor and began a slow parade at 5:30PM.

Here is my full video playlist:

They headed far out from shore in a big arc, then came near shore near the Biltmore Hotel and Coral Casino. From there they hugged the shore along West Beach, then made their way close to the east side of Stearn’s Wharf.

Making for a rather dense crowd of people trying to get the best close up view of the boats! When we arrived, the announcer was telling us the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony was about to begin. But no one could figure out what this meant since the tree was already lit! Here is my video of the tree and the crowd around it.

Before the parade officially started, Santa rode by on the Harbor Patrol boat.

Here were the first four boats in the parade.

Next came Fishin Mission, Santa’s Workshop, Dolphins, The Grinch, Snoopy, Dancers and more.

Next came Sea Creatures, Playing Cards and a Blue Theme boat.

Here was my final set of videos of the Boat Parade of Lights: Hang Ten Surfing Santa, Partiers and a Polar Bear.

There was a bit of a pause of ten or fifteen minutes as the boats made their way back to the harbor. And then a beautiful fireworks display! And then about five minutes after that ended, there was a brief encore! Can anyone explain that? Here is my video, including the encore tacked on at the very end.

Some of you may recognize Justin Gunn and his magnificent dragon from a variety of events, including Solstice, Lucidity, Fishbon and SBCAST. He was out with passenger Megan Illgner and this attracted a lot of attention, too!

As much as I love this event, I have to say that the Oxnard version is even more spectacular and easier to watch.

It happens at Channel Islands Harbor and can be viewed from the nearby bridge which gets closed to traffic. Oxnard Harbor has multiple channels which allows more boats to be seen at once. Ventura also has their version coming up on December 17 and 18! Here you can find more information on the Ventura Parade of Lights:

If you miss these this year, be sure to catch one or more of them next year! 


Written by sbrobert

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