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Southwest Parade Of Lights 2009

‘High Lights’ Of The Season

San_Diego_Parade_Of_Lights_2009_Casquevana.jpgPhoto Credit San Diego Parade Of Lights - Casquevana

‘High Lights’ Of The Season
Christmas Lighted-Boat Parades Illuminate The Southwest
Compiled By Margie Anderson

Get into the holiday spirit by decorating your boat with lights and join a holiday parade on your local lake. Even if you don’t deck the hulls, you can have a great time watching the parade of lights from shore or from your own boat. Here are some of the events that will be taking place in Arizona this holiday season. We’ve also added two of our favorite Southern California parades.

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu’s Festival of Lights features more than a million lights illuminating the London Bridge and the surrounding shops of the English Village from late November through early January. The 27th Annual Boat Parade of Lights will be held Dec. 4 and 5 this year, and the theme is “A Havasu Star-Spangled Christmas.”

Arizona State Parks has a suggestion: Watch the Lake Havasu Christmas Boat Parade of Lights from Lake Havasu State Park. The Parade of Lights will be held at about 7 p.m. on the evenings of the 4th and 5th, and you can camp at the park or sit on Windsor Beach to watch the spectacle. Camping is $15 per vehicle per night (no electric hook-ups). Make sure to check the Arizona State Parks Web site before you go to make sure they haven’t closed the park due to budget cuts.

For more information about entering or viewing the parade, visit or call Lake Havasu State Park at (928) 855-2784. You can also call (928) 855-0888. You can see photos of past winners and entries at that Web site, which will give you some ideas for your own decorations.

At Lake Havasu State Park, regular park fees apply during the day. That’s just $10 per vehicle. The park is at 699 London Bridge Road off Highway 95 and Industrial Blvd. They’ve got three launch ramps and a campground with 42 sites. For more information on state parks, call them at (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703) or visit

Lake Mead

The 33rd Christmas Parade of Lights will shine on Lake Mead Dec.5. The parade has been presented annually by Lake Mead Boat Owners Association in cooperation with the National Park Service, Las Vegas Boat Harbor /Lake Mead Marina complex. The decorated boats will gather Saturday morning at both Las Vegas Boat Harbor and Lake Mead Marina where they will put on their final touches and be inspected before the parade.

The public is invited to come down before the parade and see the boats up close and personal. The boats will also be available for viewing and the captains available for chatting after the parade.

On Dec.5, the day of the parade, the Park Service will waive the park entry fee after 2 p.m. The best viewing is from Boulder Beach where horn honking for your favorites is encouraged.

Those who would like to enter their decorated boats can do so free of any charge. Applications are available at the both marinas and at West Marine on Lake Mead Parkway (by Walmart). They can also be downloaded form LMBOA’s Web site Directions for submitting are on the applications.

Registration will be at Lake Mead Marina from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on parade day. The parade will leave the Las Vegas Boat Harbor/ Lake Mead Marina complex at 6:30 p.m. sharp and will be in position to parade along Boulder Beach at approximately 7p.m. and follow a course along the Boulder Beach buoy line back to the Las Vegas Boat Harbor/ Lake Mead Marina where the boats can be viewed by the public at dockside and the trophies will be awarded. The participating boats can be viewed at the marinas before and after the parade.

There is a maximum of 50 entries allowed with 10 categories from 16’ to 60’ and up and three trophies awarded in each class. Everyone has a good chance to take home a fine trophy.

Get your entries in soon. All entries must be self-powered. Sorry, No PWCs, sail boards or tows. Walkup entries will be accepted until 2 p.m. on parade day.

For more information check the website at or contact Barb Wagner, Parade Chair, at 702-561-7727. In 2008, Lake Mead Marina was relocated 3 miles south on Highway 166 to Hemenway Launch ramp, next to Las Vegas Boat Harbor. It's sitting in the area formerly known as Horsepower Cove, which used to be a ski beach. It was moved because it was getting land-bound.

As you’re coming through Boulder City and go into the park, take the first right past the gates. The number for Lake Mead Marina is (702) 293-3484

Lake Mohave

There is no official date set yet for the annual Lake Mohave Holiday Parade of Lights at Katherine Landing, but they’ll have a date set by late October. The boats are always available for viewing in the harbor area prior to the start of the parade. As the holidays approach, registration forms will be available at the motel office. Call (928) 754 3245 for information.

Parker Area

The Parker Area Chamber of Commerce, the BlueWater Resort & Casino, Arizona Public Service and the Sunrise Rotary Club of Parker will host the Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade on Saturday, Nov. 28. The parade will start at the BlueWater Resort Casino and head north along the Colorado River.

The lighted boats will gather at the BlueWater Resort & Casino Marina, where Santa Claus will be waiting to greet area children. Santa will be taking free photos and handing out treats from 6 to 7 p.m. Entries will be judged in the marina and awards will be distributed there before the float begins.

Parade entries will be judged in five categories: Best Large Boat; Best Small Boat; Best RV Park Boat; Best Business Boat and Best Club/Organization Boat. Registration for the Lighted Boat Parade is free of charge. For more information, call the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce at (928) 669-2174.

Tempe Town Lake

The APS Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. Admission is free, so light up the night and be dazzled at the Valley’s most unique holiday event — the APS Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade at Tempe Town Lake, featuring as many as 50 festively lighted boats of all sizes, and colorful fireworks finale. Nearly 30,000 spectators attend, and METRO light rail’s LED installation on the Tempe Town Lake Bridge will provide a special display.

This is the only time of the year that motorized vessels are allowed on the lake. Individuals, families and groups are invited to add to Tempe’s holiday tradition by entering their people-powered, wind-powered, or motorized and festively decorated and lighted boats.

Special exhibits, musical entertainment, and kids' activities start at 4 p.m. in Tempe Beach Park. Fifty tons of snow adds a seasonal atmosphere for kids' enjoyment. The event concludes with a dazzling fireworks grand finale.

This annual event is produced by the Downtown Tempe Community, Inc., managers of the Mill Avenue District. For information on getting your boat registered to be in the parade and a complete listing of the rules, visit Deadline for registration is Dec. 1. The parade has a theme this year: “Town Lake Turns 10.” There is a height restriction because of the bridge – maximum height is 18 feet.

And, If You’re In Southern California - Dana Point Harbor

pastedGraphic.jpgPhoto Credit Michael Abbinanate, Dana Point Harbor

There are boat rides with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Dana Wharf Sportfishing Dock.

Come aboard the “Sum Fun” for a 20-minute harbor cruise with Santa and his helpers. Santa will be hearing those holiday wishes as you cruise. The El Camino Real Junior Woman’s Club will be on hand to take your photo for a $1 donation.

What a unique and fun way for kids of all ages to visit with Santa, so dress warmly. Location: East end of Dana Point Harbor at Dana Wharf Sportfishing docks, 34675 Golden Lantern, between the Jolly Roger and the Wind & Sea. Boats donated by Dana Wharf Sportfishing. Info, call (949) 923-2255 or (949) 496-5794 or log on to or

And, if that weren’t enough fun, there is also the highlight of the season: the 35th annual Boat Parade of Lights: “Santa’s Surfin’ Safari. Dates are Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 and 12 and again on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18 and 19, all at 7:30 p.m.

This year marks the 35th Annual Boat Parade of Lights. Boaters from all around Orange County decorate their boats and vie for the awards of Judges’ Choice, Best Theme, Best Use of Lights, Best Animation, Most Colorful, Most Original, Best Sailboat, Best Powerboat and the Perpetual Trophy for the Yacht Club with the Most Entries. New awards and cash prizes will help to inspire participants. Be part of the parade and enter your own boat; contact us at (949) 923-2255 or pick up an entry form at Dana Wharf Sportfishing or go online at

You can view the parade free from anywhere in the harbor, or make reservations at one of our restaurants to view it from a cozy and warm spot. Come on down and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. Dana Point Harbor is at 34555 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, Calif. Landlubbers can also participate in the parade. Dana Wharf Sportfishing offers boat rides so you too can experience the fun of actually riding on a boat and joining in the parade.

The boat is located at Dana Wharf docks, 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point. Tickets are $25 for Adults and $15 for Children. Kids will be able to participate in the judging of the Dana Wharf Kid’s Cup Trophy. Call and make your reservations at (949) 496-5794. For more information, call the Harbor Info line at (949) 923-2255, e-mail or visit

The Port Of San Diego

The 38th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, presented by The Port of San Diego, is set for two evenings on the sparkling bay: Sunday, Dec. 13 and Sunday, Dec. 20 from 5:30 until 9 p.m. This year’s theme is “Christmas at the Zoo.”

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