Colorful lights are a sure way to evoke the magic of the holiday season. Combine a flotilla of twinkling lights with water, and the magic intensifies. The Benicia Marina is putting on such a light show for the holidays, with its annual Lighted Boat Parade that gets underway at 6pm, Saturday, Dec. 9, along the downtown waterfront.
In the evening darkness, a line of lighted boats will leave the marina and proceed along the Carquinez Strait past the First Street Pier, then turn around and return to the marina. Spectators can stand along the waterfront to marvel at the array decorated boats and the reflections they make in the water. The Benicia Marina has held a holiday Lighted Boat Parade for more than a quarter-century—a long-standing tradition for the community.
All boaters are welcome to join in the parade. Harbormaster Rhonda Imel said the holiday tradition is a fun one for the marina, and at least a dozen boaters participate. “A lot of people get creative with the lights and decorations,” she said. The marina announced that marina berthers and non-berthers are welcome, and pay no entrance fee to be part of the parade. Standing along the waterfront, people watching the parade may spot a few red Santas, golden angels, carolers and maybe a Grinch as well.
Some lights will be strung up on sailboat masts to resemble the boughs of festive holiday trees. Decorated boats are judged in several categories including Best Overall Decorations, Best Lighted Powerboat and Best Lighted Sailboat. A participation award is also given. Awards take place on the main deck in the front of the Benicia Marina office (Harbormaster building) upon the return of the parade participants. There is one award per category. Marina berthers get slip credit, plus a gift basket. Boaters who come in from Vallejo or other areas get a gift basket. The public is invited to come out and watch the parade, enjoying lights as they glide through the water.