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.

Others agree.   

"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. 


Results -

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






Kymberly Smith Jackson December 09, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I think it's really cool that these folks take the time, effort and resources to do this every year. I am so glad that our little one was well enough to go out and get some fresh air and see this dazzling display! Fun : )
Natalie BP December 10, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Always a wonderful display and memory! This year we decided to utilize the trolley from the USNA stadium. Many folks were lined up for the shuttle picking up people ever 15 minutes. We all were surprised however when each person was charged $2.00 EACH WAY: from USNA stadium to Church Circle. It cost my group $16.00. Two other buses ran from Wedt Street & somewhere else for free. ? A lot of upset families. Thought I would enlighten you if you were not aware. Thanks
Cindy December 11, 2012 at 02:01 AM
I agree with Natalie BP, first I thought I did alot of reading on the internet sites provided before hand and thought it was free, and was shocked when I went to the Stadium and the lady said that's $5.00 please, she was kind enough to warn us that then we had to pay 2.00 per person , I thought ok, but was shocked to pay two bucks back. What I felt sorry for were the people who like me thought it was free, and they get on the bus and didn't have exact change. Some people had to get off the bus because of that. It's not like the bus driver was helpful or anything, for those not knowing Annapolis we were dropped off, and not knowing if we would be picked up at the same spot. Then getting back to the stadium the parking lot is dark, not even a person at the booth that collected the money, (and this was before 8:30) can't say I felt safe. I have always wanted to see the Parade, yes it was nice, but I can't say I'll be spending my hard earned money in Annapolis again. The restaurants and shops have a lot to benefit from this event, but as a tourist I didn't feel welcomed by Annapolis and defintely not by the bus driver either. By the way were there any police to direct traffic? It's a wonder people weren't hit crossing the road to and from the city dock.
Joshua Roeder December 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Natalie BP, Good morning! First, let me apologize for any misunderstandings about our Trolley/Circulator services. Hopefully I can clear all this up for you in time for your next visit downtown. The Navy Stadium parking is separate and apart from the City parking garages and the stadium fee is $5 to park. We have a trolley that runs on that side of town, and it carries a $2 fee, each way. Separate from that we also have 4 City garages along West St. and Duke of Gloucester, these garages are much closer to the action and from these garages you can catch the FREE Circulator that runs in our Downtown/Historic District. I am going to put a link to our City website at the bottom of this message, you can find all this info and more on the Transportation pages of the website. You can also go to www.ParkAnnapolis.com for more information on parking and the Circulator. I hope this information has helped and again, I apologize for any inconveniences. Visit the City of Annapolis at http://www.annapolis.gov/Government/Departments/Transportation.aspx
Joshua Roeder December 11, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Cindy, Good morning! I would like to apologize for any inconvenience you had while you were in Annapolis. I would like to make sure you have all the correct information in regards to transit in Annapolis. I will put a link at the bottom of this message for you. Just to clarify, the Navy Stadium parking is separate and apart from the City garages and they have their own fees and attendants. A good number of people use the stadium parking for special events so we do provide a shuttle on that side of town but it does carry a $2 fee, each way. This will connect you 2 the FREE Circulator that we provide for the Downtown district. I would also like to apologize for our driver if they were anything less than cordial with you. We really try to harp on customer service so I will be addressing that with the driver. As far as giving change, our drivers are instructed not to handle any money to avoid any issues that may come. For your next visit, it may be easier for you to use one of the City garages located on West St and Duke of Gloucester. From any of these locations you are closer to the action and you can hop on the FREE Circulator for a free ride all day or night until you are ready to leave. You can find more information about parking in Annapolis at www.ParkAnnapolis.com. You can also find all kinds of information in regards to the Navy Shuttle, the FREE Circulator, parking and all things Annapolis Transit at http://www.annapolis.gov/Government/Departments/Transportation.aspx


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