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Nov-13-2007 15:54TweetFollow @OregonNews
Newport Boat Parade Will Light the Night December 1stSalem-News.com
Newport's boat parade will feature a variety of watercraft, including charter boats, fishing boats, sail boats and even sea kayaks.
(NEWPORT, Ore.) - 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 charity event known as the 14th Annual Lighted Boat Parade.
On December 1st from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM, local lighted boats will 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, Newport Tradewinds, Sea Gull Charters and Yaquina Bay Charters will offer rides. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 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 by 3:00 PM on December 1st. Space is based on availability.
Watchers traditionally line the docks and fill the restaurants and shops on the historic Bayfront to watch the glowing display, although you won’t find parking or overcrowding a problem, organizers say, because this time of year isn’t as jam packed as the summer season. They call it 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 Discovery Tours. Her own Oregon Rocket made a splash in 2005.
"It had a surprise burst of lights as the passengers aboard pulled illuminated oars through the water,” she said. “Other highlights have included live bands on board, tall, masted saiboats 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.
Newport is home to the largest fishing fleet in Oregon and the boat parade will feature a variety of watercraft, including charter boats, fishing boats, sail boats and even sea kayaks. Mathews said this event is different because while many similar festivities contain mostly private pleasure craft, this one includes many working fishing boats.
Then there is the charity aspect of the event. The boat companies, in turn, donate ticket sales to the Festival of Trees event, put on by Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital Foundation.
This year, the parade again 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."
Oregon Coast Bank and Yaquina Bay Communications are co-sponsoring the festival, which has other members of the local business community responding with generous donations. The grand prize will be a hunting rifle, sponsored by Oregon Coast Bank. Other prizes include deluxe lodging, dining packages, marine hardware and gifts from the community. Prizes 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.
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