Decorated in lights for the holidays, about 50 boats ranging in size from 20-foot fishing vessels to 100-foot yachts are scheduled to cast off in north county for Saturday night’s 22nd annual Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade.
“We have families who have done this for 20 years. It’s a family tradition for them,” said Alyssa Freeman, the parade spokesperson.
About 40 boats so far have signed up. More are expected to join at the Captain’s Meeting planned at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Season’s 52 Restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens. That is the deadline for registration, which is free.
Fireworks launched from boats heading north along the Intracoastal Waterway are planned for the parade starting at 6 p.m. in North Palm Beach at the north end of the Lake Worth Lagoon.
The parade, sponsored and produced by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, ends about three hours later at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse.
Extended fireworks are planned at the North Palm Beach Marina, Jupiter’s Plaza Down Under on the Riverwalk at Indiantown Road and Harbourside Place, plus a grand finale at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse courtesy of Square Grouper Tiki Bar, Jetty’s and U-Tiki.
As usual, the thousands of spectators lined along the route will be waving their flashlights for boats to stop and collect their donations for U.S. Marine Reserves Toys for Tots Program. Volunteers in marked boats will pick up the toys.
Toy donations also can be dropped off at dozens of local businesses. For a list of donation locations, go to palmbeachboatparade.com.
Last year, the MIAPBC collected about 5,000 toys for needy children in Palm Beach County. That was down from about 8,000 the previous year, said Freeman.
“The weather last year was windy and rainy. That reduced the crowds. Hopefully, we will have better weather this year and more people will attend and make donations,” Freeman said.
Boat entries will be accepted through Wednesday. Boat entry is free and open to boats of all sizes.
The top three boats in each size category, plus “Best of Parade,” win a total of more than $10,000 in cash and prizes. Judging is based on three factors: lights, enthusiasm and overall effect.
For information and a list of all our sponsors and supporters, go to palmbeachboatparade.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (561) 863-0012.
Where to watch:
- North Palm Beach Country Club
- Juno Park
- Bert Winters Park
- Riverwalk Events Plaza
- Harbourside Place
- Sawfish Bay Park
- Lighthouse Park
Because of weather, winds, tides and currents, exact times cannot be determined.
Parker/US 1 Bridge (North Palm Beach): Between 6 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Permit allows for a 1-hour opening.
PGA Bridge: Between 6:30-6:45 p.m. Permit allows for a 45-minute opening.
Donald Ross Bridge: Between 7:15-7:30 p.m. Permit allows for a 45-minute opening.
Indiantown Road Bridge: Between 8-8:15 p.m. Permit allows for a 45-minute opening.
Jupiter Federal Bridge: Between 8:15-8:30 p.m. Permit allows for a 45-minute opening.