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San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

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The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights continues its tradition with its 41st annual procession of boats scheduled for the evenings of December 9 and 16.   


The 2012 Parade of Lights will begin each evening at 5:30 p.m. with a procession of more than 80 lavishly decorated vessels reflecting this year’s theme, “USS Santa.” More than 100,000 spectators will line the bayfront each night for this cherished holiday tradition.


The parade meanders from Shelter Island west past Harbor Island, then south along the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and Ferry Landing in Coronado. It takes about two hours to complete and there are many comfortable waterfront viewpoints along the route.


This year’s event has added meaning as it marks the Port of San Diego’s 50th anniversary celebration. The Port will begin its year of anniversary events by sponsoring this cherished holiday tradition, as it has for many years. The Port plans to end its anniversary celebration with the 2013 parade.


For added insight into the participating boats, viewers are encouraged to watch the parade near the announcer’s area, just north of the Maritime Museum on the Embarcadero. As each boat passes this viewing point, the announcer offers a brief history and description of the vessel.


Viewers can also make reservations at privately owned businesses such as restaurants, hotels and other venues along the bayfront offering excellent views of the parade. A map of the route is available to make it easy to find your preferred viewing spot. Due to increased traffic and parking demand, observers are encouraged to plan ahead or take the trolley to the event.


A wide variety of prizes and awards are given out to the best dressed boats and those that best capture the parade’s theme.


Panels of judges are stationed at two points along the parade route, at the Maritime Museum and on the docks at Peohe’s restaurant in Coronado. Participating boats must pass both sets of judges to be eligible for prizes.


All participants will receive a participant plaque and are invited to the awards presentation which will be held January 9.


Boat owners interested in participating can download the entry form from the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights website: www.sdparadeoflights.org. There is a $40 entry fee that must be submitted with the registration form at Bali Hai Restaurant at 2230 Shelter Island Drive to confirm entry and receive a registration packet. The fee covers both evenings, and watercraft of all sizes are encouraged to participate. For more information, call 619-224-2240 or email questions@sdparadeoflights.org.

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