A Shining Success for Eastport Yacht Club's Lights Parade
The 30th annual event draws big crowds, smiles and lots of hulls decked in holiday style, amidst the fog.
A foggy evening set the stage for the 30th year of the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade, yet not too cold and not too windy for the 37 boats, decked out in twinkling lights and holiday decor, which paraded up and down Ego Alley and Spa Creek.
When it comes down to it, a boat parade in December isn't about appreciating the weather, it's about appreciating the good times.
"Especially when we’ve done parades in sleet, snow, rain and 60 mile per hour wind gusts," laughed Pete Chambliss, so called chief elf of the parade.
"It's the Christmas spirit that drives people to do this," Chambliss said, speaking with the experience of having participated in the parade for 22 years.
"When you go down Ego Alley, over the roar of the generator and all the noise you’re going to hear, the roar of the crowds - that gives you an appreciation of the gifts you’ve given the city," he said.
"We might not have the best display, but we probably have the best time," said Ray Rosenberg of Edgewater, on why he keeps returning, year after year, as a participant in the parade.
How many years is this for him?
"15th year in a row," Rosenberg said. "I actually did the parade 16 years ago with a friend and thought that it looked like so much fun, I've been doing it ever since."
His boat, a 31-foot powerboat, was decked out much the same as it has been in years past and with a theme called "Holiday Lights" - red, white and blue lights, with some inflatables.
In all, it takes a group of three or four people "half a day or so" to get it ready for the parade.
"We've done it for so long, we've got the system down pat," Rosenberg said.
For some, the gearing-up process starts well in advance.
"We put about three months of effort into this display," said Peter Holden of Annapolis. "We started back in July actually."
Holden explained it was then he began the process of replacing bulbs and ordering some new decorations for his 41-foot sailboat called "My Way," which had a parade theme dubbed appropriately, "A Sinatra Christmas."
This was his sixth year participating in the parade.
On Friday night, Julianne and Rob Fettus of Annapolis were busy putting the final touches on their 43-foot, liveaboard powerboat, which was tied up alongside Ego Alley.
There was one off-limit topic the couple wouldn't discuss - how much has been spent on decorations for instance.
"We don't talk about that," Julianne laughed. "It's a labor of love."
The boat's theme is based on the movie, "A Christmas Story," and includes a giant leg lamp, as well as quotes from the film spelled out in bright lights along the railings.
Regardless of how much time, effort and money the skippers and their crews put into the parade, one fact is abundantly clear - they love being part of it.
"It brings people together - it's just a wonderful event, that's now in its 30th year, to celebrate not only the holidays, but boating in Annapolis," Holden said.
And there it is - a sentiment powerboaters and sailboaters can both agree upon.
Best in Parade - Elyssa J
Best Illumination - Island Time
Best Animation - Spoiled Rotten
Best Christmas Spirit - Sally
Commodore's Choice for Sailboat - Voyager
Commodore's Choice for Powerboat - Rambunctious
Best Small Sailboat - Early Bird
Best Medium Sailboat - Sharon Rose
Best Large Sailboat - My Way
Best Small Powerboat - Zodiac 1
Best Medium Powerboat - Luhr You In
Best Large Powerboat - Molly B
Best New Entry - Tuition
Best Club Challenge - Principia
Up the Creek Award - Elyssa J