Lighted Boat Parade Kicks Off Season on Central Oregon Coast
(Newport, Oregon) Newport's Yaquina Bay will get festive in a particularly spectacular way in early December as about a couple dozen boats take to the water gussied up in a variety of lights, all for the annual charity event known as Newport's 16th Annual Lighted Boat Parade.
On December 5, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., local lighted boats 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.
Onlookers can actually be in the middle of it all and ride aboard one of several passenger-licensed craft during the event. Marine Discovery Tours and Newport Tradewinds will offer rides. Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for children (4-13), while three years old and under ride free. Tickets can be purchased by calling 265-6200, or by visiting Anchor Pier on the Bayfront before 3 pm on December 5th. Space is based on availability.
There is a feel-good charity aspect of the event. The boaters donate parade registration fees and ticket sales to the annual Festival of Trees event, put on by Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital Foundation. The 2009 fund raising will focus on purchasing a new central fetal monitoring system.
Watchers line the docks and fill the restaurants and shops on the historic Bayfront to watch the glowing display, but parking or overcrowding will not be a problem as this time of year is very laid back in this neighborhood. It's the right mix of energetic, holiday frivolity and easy access for the visitor.
The number of lights and designs have varied greatly over the years, said co-founder Fran Mathews, who also owns Marine Discovery Tours. Highlights have included live bands on board, fireworks, tall, masted sailboats with stars sparkling in the rigging, and a spouting whale on top of the Discovery. Mathews said boats in the parade have run with as few as one perfectly positioned strand of lights to thousands of lights on the larger vessels.
As always, the parade has a popular feature for local boaters: a decorating competition. All mariners in Lincoln County are invited to enter and win a variety of prizes. Fran and her husband Don thought it would add to the festivities to include prizes for a decorating competition.
"We have a beautiful, protected bay for evening harbor lights," said Don Mathews. "And we have boats in this county - from pleasure craft and sail boats, to charter and fishing vessels. Captains and crews love to work as a team, whether it's the family boat or a high-lining fishing crew."
Prizes donated by generous business neighbors throughout the community will be awarded to the boats following the event.
"This is a fun way to launch this festive season of fundraising, joined together by people from all over the coastal community while we showcase our beautiful boats and Bayfront neighborhood," said Fran Mathews. "We will be bustling with crabbers and stacks of crab pots being loaded aboard boats with forklifts running gear up and down the street."
For information on entering the boat decorating contest or to reserve passenger tickets, call Marine Discovery Tours at (541) 265-6200 or visit their office at Anchor Pier, 345 SW Bay Boulevard - on Newport's Historic Bayfront. Call the Newport Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-262-7844 or visit www.DiscoverNewport.com for great information on winter and upcoming holiday events.
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