Santa Barbara Harbor Celebrates 37th Annual Parade of Lights

Parade of Lights in the Santa Barbara Harbor (courtesy)

The 37th Annual Parade of Lights lit up the Santa Barbara Harbor on Sunday evening, spreading festive joy and capturing the spirit of the season. Crowds gathered along the waterfront to witness a dazzling display of sea vessels, music, and shimmering lights that transformed the coastline into a winter wonderland.

Standup paddle boarders and kayakers kicked off the event around 3:30 p.m. making a loop around the harbor and Stearns Wharf donning a variety of festive attire.

A tree lighting ceremony took place on Stearns Wharf around 5:00 p.m. that included a performance by the Dos Pueblos Jazz Choir and an exciting countdown to flipping the light switch on the tree.

The Human-Powered category competition will be held during the daylight at 3:30 p.m. Dozens of standup paddlers and kayakers dressed in festive attire will loop the harbor and Stearns Wharf spreading cheer for all to hear. at 5:00 p.m., a tree lighting ceremony, complete with holiday tunes, sung by Dos Pueblos Jazz Choir, will be held on Stearns Wharf next to the Sea Center. Then, at 5:30 p.m., around 30 illuminated watercraft, will light up the night as they make their way from Leadbetter Beach down the coast to the Cabrillo Pavilion, then back along the coast to Stearns Wharf.


Around 5:30 p.m., the boat parade kicked off as temperatures dipped. Families wearing warm jackets and scarves, holding hot cocoa cups, watched in awe as their eyes were treated to a stunning display of boats adorned with thousands of twinkling lights, holiday-themed decorations, and costumed characters.

There were over 30 boats of all shapes and sizes in the parade, ranging from sailboats to yachts, all showcasing their creativity with distinct themes that added an extra charm to the event. Boats were festooned with LED lights and neon signs, creating a kaleidoscope of colors that lit the night with a magical glow.

Participants got creative and brought their own version of winter wonderlands on the open sea with imaginative scenes and holiday themes. From boats decorated to look like gingerbread houses and snowmen to ships featuring Santa Clause and his entourage, each float was unique and filled the spectators with wonder.

As the parade made its way down Leadbetter Beach to the Cabrillo Pavilion, and back along the coast to Stearns Wharf, the sound of cheers and applause from the crowd, and the occasional shout of “Merry Christmas!” echoed over the water. Spectators showed their appreciation and watched with amazement as the boats passed through the harbor formation, creating an enchanting scene with the reflections of the lights on the water.

Fireworks show following the Parade of Lights in the Santa Barbara Harbor (courtesy)

Following the parade the community was treated to a fireworks show over the Harbor for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. After the fireworks, there was a no-host awards party at the Anchor Rose restaurant upstairs above the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

The 37th annual Harbor Parade of Lights brought an air of festivity and cheer to Santa Barbara, becoming one of the cherished traditions of the holiday season. The event highlighted the beauty of the sea and brought the community together in a spirit of warmth, love, and unity.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

What do you think?


0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment

Body Found at Bates Beach

Santa Barbara Gay Men’s Chorus Enchants With “A Midwinter Night’s Dream”