Newport, Oregon Bay Lights Up with Boat Parade
(Newport, Oregon) - On December 1, the biggest bay on the central Oregon coast will light up like a Christmas tree – except this one floats on the water. The 19th annual Light Boat Parade takes to Newport's Yaquina Bay, guaranteed to put anyone in the holiday spirit. Thousands and thousands of lights adorn dozens of boats, which make a large loop around the bay, from the Coast Guard Station to the Embarcadero Resort and back, showing off a variety of colorful designs.
Hundreds of onlookers line the scenic bay – but so spread out along its length that parking is not a problem, nor is being cramped by fellow parade watchers. People hit the docks, walkways and local shops and restaurants, but you can actually buy a ticket to ride on one of the lighted boats as well.
The parade will take place on Saturday, December 1st, from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. Boats will depart from various docks along the Bayfront and South Beach Marina on the south side and will leisurely circle the bay, from the Coast Guard Station to the Embarcadero.
The stately NOAA Pacific Fleet joins the festivities for the second year, with plans to decorate by its docks.
“There are lots of ways folks can enjoy the Lighted Boat Parade - decorating and entering their own boat; viewing from the piers along the shoreline or the many restaurants along the Bayfront” said Fran Mathews, co-owner of Marine Discovery Tours. “Of course, my favorite recommendation is to buy tickets and ride on one of the decorated boats.”
Fran and her husband, Don, a retired Oregon coast and Bering Sea crabber, started the event, in 1994, as a fun way to showcase boats from their harbor and raise some community dollars. They are joined, again, this year by the Yaquina Bay Yacht Club, with Stephanie Brown and her enthusiastic team of sailors at the helm.
“It’s a feel good event for the boating community, as we help raise funds for our local hospital, along with filling up shops and restaurants along the Bayfront,” Mathews said.
Each boat competes for decoration awards, showing innovative themes, light configurations, and even fireworks or live music on board. Prizes are awarded through generous donations from neighbors throughout the Newport community.
Passenger licensed boats from Marine Discovery Tours, Newport Tradewinds and Captain’s Reel Charters have space available for guests, with parade registration fees and ticket sales donated to the annual Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees event. Tickets, including riding in the parade with hot cocoa and cookies, are $33 for adults and $15 for children (children, under three, are free) and can be purchased by calling 541-265-6200 or visiting Marine Discovery Tours at Anchor Pier, 345 SW Bay Blvd., on Newport’s Bayfront before 3 p.m. on December 1 .
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