January 2007

The Magic Of Lake Havasu

Memories Are Made Of This

By Carol L. Allen

It doesn’t get much better than this: the spectacular London Bridge decked out in garlands and lights for the season, twinkling colors frosting every visible roof and storefront of the village, boats of every shape and size dressed in Christmas and other themes, their lights glistening on the water of the great Colorado River there at Lake Havasu — It was magical. It was a fantasyland, and Jim and I were honored to be a part of the memorable festivities.

The first parade night Dec. 1 we watched, mesmerized, from the luxurious patio of the London Bridge Resort’s Martini Bay. From there we could see every parade entry clearly and snap photos to our hearts’ delight.

And, on Dec. 2, we had the pleasure of meeting with the sponsors of the parade, the London Bridge Yacht Club. After a skipper’s meeting that stressed safety for all involved, we joined Scott Monnier, the next commodore of LBYC, on his 21-foot 1984 Chris-Craft Scorpion.

Monnier was skippering one of the patrol boats that were placed near the parade route to monitor the traffic of around 60 craft that made up the 45 float entries.

Most Arizonans know of the spectacular London Bridge — now owned by the City of Lake Havasu — brought to Lake Havasu from the Thames River by the imaginative and innovative Robert P. McCulloch, Sr.

After being shipped from London to the port of Long Beach, Calif., the 10,276 numbered granite blocks, weighing 22 million pounds, began arriving by truck in Lake Havasu on July 9, 1968.

The world’s "Largest Puzzle" was completed three years later and dedicated on Oct. 10, 1971. The bridge includes the lampposts made from French cannons captured during the 1815 Battle of Waterloo.

Another interesting note is that, still visible, are the marks on the granite blocks that were made from exploding German shells fired during the Battle of Britain in World War II.

This was the magical setting for the annual Boat Parade of Lights "Christmas on the Lake" – an experience so fantastic that the event has been selected as one of the top 100 North American events by the American Bus Association.

The parade also received the Governor’s Award for the Best Special Event in a rural community (i.e., outside Phoenix or Tucson); this award is one of several handed out each year during the Governor’s Conference on Tourism — a much anticipated and vied for honor.

Memories? We have many.

Among them, Dixie Belle, the sternwheeler tour boat dressed in green, white, and red complete with a snowman and a toy soldier; Lake Havasu Yacht Club’s zippy little "train" engine plying the waters; the Campbell boat fleet that looked for all the world like