Lighted Boat Parade

Congrats to 2013 Lighted Boat Parade decoration award winners:
1st Place: Emerald Sea
2nd Place: Reel Antsy
3rd Place: Job Site III

Lighted Boat Parade

The first Saturday in December of each year marks the date of the Lighted Boat Parade in Colonial Beach. The Colonial Yacht Club organizes this event and it dates back a dozen years.

Boats adorned in colorful lights move in formation, up the beachfront of the Town of Colonial Beach, and then make their way back to Monroe Bay. The dazzling array of holiday lights is really something to see, and is a wonderful part of our town's annual Winter Festival, which also includes a Tree of Lights, pictures with Santa and all sorts of other holiday delights.

There's no shortage of lights in this super fun event. I hope to enter my boat in it next year, as I have some great ideas for decorations. I'm really looking forward to it!


In this "Show on H2O" you may see boats fabulously decorated with animated Christmas scenes accompanied by music and costumed carolers. Some folks spare no expense when creating incredible holiday displays on their vessels. These "floats" (get it?!) will give viewers in restaurants, yacht clubs, on public beaches, and in private homes an incredible sight.

Bring friends and family to see this wonderful display. The dancing of the colored lights reflecting off the surface of the water is so pretty and it's a great family event that people of all ages will enjoy.

It begins at Marker 2 right around dusk, which is typically around 5:00pm.

If you'd rather participate than watch, you can apply by completing a short form and turning it in at the Beach Service Center, the Colonial Yacht Center or at the Captain’s Meeting at the Dockside Restaurant at 1 pm on the day of the event.

Prime viewing areas for the lighted boat parade include the Riverboat restaurant, or the cozy fireside dining area at High Tides restaurant. Anywhere along the beachfront or Boardwalk or the end of the Town Pier works, too. It may be cold out, though, so bundle up.

Lighted Boat Parade

  • 2011's results:
    1st Place Lloyd Alspaugh with the jumping fish lights!
    2nd Place Steve Giles with what looked like a disco ball
    3rd Place Richard Racine who led the end of the parade

    Lighted Boat Parade Tips
    - Buy extra lights and fasteners, just in case.
    - Buy your lights during post-season clearance sales.
    - Use LED lights, they are more energy efficient.
    - Don't make your display too complicated, keep it simple.
    - Make sure the lights and decorations don't create a navigational hazard by reducing visibility.
    - Bring along a portable generator and extra fuel.
    - Take a look at your decorated boat from a distance and see how it looks from there.

    Return from Lighted Boat Parade to Winter Festival

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