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Newport Lighted Boat Parade, December 7Salem-News.com
“It’s a feel good event for the boating community, as we help raise funds for our local charities, along with filling up shops and restaurants along the Bayfront” - Fran Mathews, co-owner of Marine Discovery Tours
(NEWPORT, OR) - On December 7th, Newport's Yaquina Bay will light up like a Christmas tree – except this one floats on the water. The 20th annual Light Boat Parade takes to the 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 7th, 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 third year, with plans to decorate by its docks, along with sending two of it's research launches to join the parade action.
“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 - it's the most fun!”
Fran and her husband, Don, a retired Oregon 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 passed the helm in 2010 to the Yaquina Bay Yacht Club, with Stephanie Brown and her enthusiastic team of sailors.
“It’s a feel good event for the boating community, as we help raise funds for our local charities, 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 South Beach Charters have space available for guests, with all ticket sales donated to CAN Cancer - a Lincoln County assistance program. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for children (children, under three, are free) and includes riding aboard a festive parade boat, with hot cocoa and cookies. They 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 7th.
Newport is home to the largest fishing fleet in Oregon and the Lighted Boat Parade always features a variety of watercraft, including Coast Guard search and rescue vessels, charter boats, fishing boats, sail boats and even sea kayaks.
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