Naples will celebrate 75th annual Christmas Boat Parade with full event


Long Beach’s Naples Islands will celebrate the holidays with a complete Christmas Boat Parade for the first time in three years.

And just in time, too. This will be the 75th annual Naples Christmas Boat Parade, where small boats sailing through the canals, big boats in Alamitos Bay and houses all around the islands will compete for holiday decoration bragging rights.

“It’s going to be the complete traditional event,” said Michael O’Toole, president of the Naples Improvement Association. “The theme is Diamonds on the Bay, because this is the 75th anniversary.”

The Naples announcement came after the Belmont Shore Business Association announced it would substitute an on-street event for the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade and Daisy Lane Holiday Parade event organizers said a smaller caravan through the Wrigley neighborhood would replace the traditional evening parade.

Last year, the entire 74th annual Naples Boat Parade became a virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many residents still decorated their homes, competing in a smaller contest.

In 2019, seawall construction in the canals closed sidewalks at The Colonnade, the south side and eastern end of Treasure Island, and the western end of the Naples Peninsula. Some boats could get through the area, but without spectators, much of the parade took shortcuts.

But that’s not the case this year, O’Toole said.

“We want to brighten everything up on the water and on shore,” he said.

This year’s parade is set for Dec. 18 — later than normal. But the date was determined by the tides, not by what the Naples association wanted, O’Toole said.

“It’s the low tide,” he said. “I can tell you what day the parade will be in 2042, because of the tides.”

Low tides allow the taller boats to travel under the bridges that span the canals. The canal parade comprises everything from kayakers to smaller cabin cruisers and floats. Larger power and sail boats travel the coastline around Alamitos Bay.

O’Toole said the process of inviting VIPs and the decision about who the grand marshal will be is just beginning. The website is being rebuilt and an announcement will be made when parade entry applications are available, he added.

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