November 2007

Deck The Hulls!

2008 Holiday Boat Light Parades

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.

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. 

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 Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8, and you can camp at the park or sit on Windsor Beach to watch the spectacle.

More than 50 decorated boats will pass under the London Bridge as the parade tours the lake, and there are some great views from the State Park.  Camping is $14 per vehicle per night (no electric hook-ups).

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.

At Lake Havasu State Park, regular park fees apply during the day. That’s just $9 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 Lake Mead Boat Owners Association will be presenting their 31st Annual Christmas Parade of Lights on Saturday, Dec. 1. It will consist of up to 50 decorated boats from 16 to 75 feet. They all gather at Lake Mead Marina and leave promptly at 7 p.m. on a parade route that goes along the shore of Boulder Beach from Lake Mead Marina to the Hemenway launch ramp area then returns to Lake Mead Marina.

The boats can be viewed at the docks before the parade, along Boulder Beach or from the water north of the parade route during the parade, or back on the dock after the parade. After the boats return to the marina, the three awards are presented in each of the 10 classes. There is no entry fee, but all boats must be registered and safety inspected to be eligible for parade participation.

The National Park Service waives the park entry fee for that afternoon and evening. For more information and pictures, go to and click on “The Parade of Lights Database,” e-mail Barb Wagner at, or call (702) 896-4696.

Lake Mohave

The annual Lake Mohave Holiday Parade of Lights will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8 at dusk at Katherine Landing. The boats will be available for viewing in the harbor area prior to the start of the parade.  Registration forms are available at the motel office.  Call (928) 754‑3245 for information.


The Parker Area Chamber of Commerce, the BlueWater Resort & Casino, Arizona Public Service and the Sunrise Rotary Club of Parker will host the Lighted Boat Parade along the Colorado River on Saturday, Nov. 24.  The Lighted Boat Parade will begin at dusk at River Lodge Resort on the California side of the river, and the entries will travel south to the BlueWater Resort & Casino on the Arizona side of the river near Parker.

The lighted boats will travel to the Cantina at the BlueWater Resort & Casino Marina, where Santa Claus will be waiting to greet them. Santa will be taking free photos and handing out treats to children. 

Firefighters from the Buckskin Fire Department will also be cruising the parade route with Santa Claus, who will happily stop at docks along the river to take photos and greet kids of all ages. The Buckskin Firefighters volunteer their time for this annual event, and they try to visit every stop along the river.

Parade entries will be judged in six categories: Best Large Boat, Best Small Boat, Best R.V. Park Boat, Best Business Boat, Best Theme Boat, and Best Club/Organization Boat. The winners in each category will receive a $50 cash prize and a trophy.
The entry judged Best Overall will receive a $250 cash prize and a trophy. Registration for the Lighted Boat Parade is free of charge.

Sponsors of the event include the BlueWater Resort & Casino, Arizona Public Service, KLPZ 1380 AM Country as well as several other local sponsors. For more information, call the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce at (928) 669-2174

Tempe Town Lake

This is a big one:  Almost 30,000 spectators attended APS Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade at Tempe Town Lake last year.  This year, the celebration will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 4 – 9 p.m.  The parade itself takes place at 7 p.m., and admission is free. 

As many as 50 decorated watercraft will light up the night with thousands of holiday lights, and Metro Valley's LED installation on the Tempe Town Lake Bridge will provide a special display.

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 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, call (480) 921-2300, or visit 

The theme this year is “Toyland,” and the entry fee is just $7 for a human-powered boat or $12 for a motorized boat. There are four cash prizes: Grand Prize of $500, Best Person Powered $200, Best Motorized $200, and Kids’ Choice $100.

Editor’s Note: If you know of any other holiday boat parades we have missed and that can be included in our December issue, please e-mail