By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, November 28, 2014, 11:57 AM
Living in Florida and around sunsets and boats and beaches. The Lighted Boat Parade is one of my favorites!
Don’t forget about all the great Events happening right here!
Where: Tampa, Hillsborough County
What: Captains dress up their pleasure crafts and sailboats with lights and then parade up and down the Florida coastline
2014 Tampa Event: Saturday, December 20, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
2014 Events across Florida: http://www.floridabywater.com/component/content/article?id=1647:boat-parades
Tampa Admission: Free
Tampa Viewing Locations: Viewing spots around the Tampa Riverwalk, Davis Islands and Harbour Island
Parking: In lots and garages in Downtown Tampa
2014 Tampa Website: http://funintampabay.com/holiday-lighted-boat-parade/
GPS Longitude & Latitude: Latitude: 27.940491 or 27° 56′ 25.7676″ — Longitude: -82.455783 or -82° 27′ 20.8182″
Drive Times: From Tampa: 10 minutes; from Orlando: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Join Scott Fais this weekend as he explores some great places to visit around the Sunshine State this holiday season.
7 p.m. Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Nov. 28, 29 & 30, 2014
TAMPA, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY —
After the sunsets across Florida, a different kind of parade lights up the night.
“They all pile around here in the channel side,” explained Heather Hall from Tampa, while standing on the bow of a boat adorned in Christmas lights.
Each holiday season across the Sunshine State, the water comes to life in light.
“This is one of the things that makes the holidays in Tampa Bay unique,” said Ryan Neubauer with the Tampa Attractions Association.
The association organizes the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade each December at the mouth of the Hillsborough River. Floating boat parades like the annual parade in downtown Tampa allow captains and their mates to decorate their craft.
Folks make the drive just to behold the floating spectacle.
“The sailboat, very impressive,” said Grant Lumdberg, who made the trip from Bonita Springs. “The biggest sailboat I’ve seen decorated.”
Illuminated creations like reindeer, glowing trees and even snowmen are staples here. And then there are the Santas.
“Most of the Santas stand at the front, wave to the children,” Hall said. Some Santas are of the plastic kind and rest on the bow, while others are behind the helm driving and some just watch from mid-ship.
But Grant admits size of the craft here doesn’t matter here.
“The credit is to the little boats. They put all their effort in little boats and they ain’t got much power on them!” Grant said.
Most of the skippers will add extra batteries to their hull to power their lighted creations and inflatables.
While standing at the mouth of the Hillsborough River, Grant thought about what the weather was like in his home state.
“I think back home to Minnesota where it is 8F degrees below right now,” Grant said. “And the boats are all put away.”
“There are not many areas of the country where you can be out on Dec. 20 and have a great parade consisting of 20 to 30 boats circling right here in downtown Tampa,” Neubauer said.
While the skippers head out of sight, the crowds continue to gaze across the shoreline downtown and on Harbor Island.
“It draws the family out of the house,” Grant concluded.
“I think it is a good way for people to come out here and enjoy the Tankful and not have a boat,” Hall said, summing up the free event.
Find out what’s happening in your neighborhood!