Thousands and thousands of holiday lights will be floating along the Yaquina Bay in early December in one very spectacular pageant. Newport’s pristine bay will feature dozens of boats in colorful, bright configurations at the 23rd annual Lighted Boat Parade. This armada of holiday cheer will make a large loop around the bay, from the Coast Guard Station to the Embarcadero Resort and back, filling the nighttime coastal air with unique designs and lighting techniques.
The parade will take place on Saturday, December 3 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. Boats will depart from various docks along the Bayfront and South Beach Marina on the south side and will leisurely circle the bay, from the Coast Guard Station to the Embarcadero. The NOAA Pacific Fleet again joins the festivities, as their research vessels return for the winter, with plans to hang some sparkle.
“There are lots of ways folks can enjoy the Lighted Boat Parade – decorating and entering their own boat; viewing from the piers along the shoreline or the many restaurants along the Bayfront” said Fran Mathews, co-owner of Marine Discovery Tours. “Of course, my favorite recommendation is to buy tickets and ride on one of the decorated boats.”
She and her husband, Don, a retired Oregon and Bering Sea crabber, started the event, in 1994, as a fun way to showcase boats from their harbor and raise some community dollars. They are backing up the Yaquina Bay Yacht Club, with their enthusiastic team of sailors at the helm.
“It’s a feel good event for the boating community, as we help raise funds for our local hospital, along with filling up shops and restaurants along the Bayfront,” Mathews said.
The decorating competition results in a variety of themes, lights, fireworks and even live music aboard the boats that surprise and delight the audience and judges each year. Prizes are awarded through generous donations from neighbors throughout the Newport community, including a hunting rifle as the grand prize, courtesy of Oregon Coast Bank.
Passenger licensed boats from Marine Discovery Tours and Newport Tradewinds have space available for guests, with all parade registration fees and ticket sales donated to the annual Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees event. Ticket prices will include riding in the parade with hot cocoa and cookies. Prices will be announced soon, and these can be purchased by calling 541-265-6200 or visiting Marine Discovery Tours at Anchor Pier, 345 SW Bay Blvd., on Newport’s Bayfront before 3 p.m. on December 3.
Newport is home to the largest fishing fleet in Oregon and the Lighted Boat Parade always features a variety of watercraft, including Coast Guard search & rescue vessels, charter boats, fishing boats, sail boats and even sea kayaks.
For lodging and activity information and complete calendar of events see www.discovernewport.com and www.newportchamber.org. 800-262-7844.